chrisbrooks's picture

Additional ID's

Purely out of curiosity because in the scale of things it is not that important can anyone shed any light on the following.

When a post it put up for identification and a correct ID is added by another and agreed with, why does the author then add an identical ID. This appears to be happening more and more and I cannot see the purpose in it. It adds nothing to the post and the author rarely receives any credit for what is just a copied identification.

Am I missing something here ?



JoC's picture


Can you give us a link as an example of what you mean, Chris?


Rachy Ramone's picture

I've seen this too...

...and I have assumed that it is from fairly new iSpotters, who haven't yet realised/been gently told that if they agree, they should click on "agee", not add a duplicate ID.

I think they just don't quite understand the system - it took me a while!

Sooner or later someone adds a comment to them, pointing this out, and they generally then stop doing it.

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:

dejayM's picture

welcome mail

This is done by very experienced Spotters too, not many.
One thing that forces it, is that there may be a minor misspelling, or lack of Common name (or Latin one) in the original; the other MIGHT be (and I do hope not) that the second or third sameID is placed to gain agreements - and what do agreements mean...?
The most common one is, as Rachy says, done by the poster because they have never been informed that it is unnecessary.
So on to my (not very well accepted) suggestion that a simple Welcome Mail is sent out to first posters outlining some quite straightforward protocol.
To be fair though, this issue of placing another correct ID may not warrant being in that 'first poster' outline.

Rachy Ramone's picture

Yes, I was surprised at the resistance... your suggestion of a welcome mail.

Almost every other online "thing" that you join sends you an initial welcome mail - I can see iSpot's point that they don't want to lump themselves in with the sort of social media that bombard the new user with mails, but I do think that iSpot would be capable of putting together a sensible, informative and light-hearted welcome mail without too much difficulty.

Jonathan could write it beautifully, I'm sure! *laughs*

I consider myself to be compooter literate and moderately bright, but even I didn't read every page of iSpot before getting in there and putting up observations.

And I made a few blunders, all right!

But, I suppose it is fair to say, I was politely put right, and gently encouraged, and look at me now - I have a badge! *proud* and I am a committed iSpotter.

On balance, though, I do think a welcome mail would be a good thing: perhaps it could have a link to the "how to do it" video, which I still have not watched..... but which, I assume, covers such things as the "get recommended" button, and how to "agree".

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:

Amadan's picture

In some instances

It is not the original poster who adds an identical identification. I've added an identification before, only to see an identical one added later by another user. I can't see and typos in mine hat would require this.
I assume that this is to aid their reputation?

Rachy Ramone's picture


... two people add IDs at more or less the same time.

I tend to take quite a long time to type my ID, I like to check the details, and check that I've spelled everything correctly. This can take several minutes, especially if I get distracted by incoming email, or checking out some obscure detail or other.

I've had instances where I finally add my ID, only to find that someone else has added it while I was faffing around, so theirs comes up time-stamped 6 minutes earlier, or more: which makes me look like a right idiot.

Being a total geek, I now have two tabs open, and I refresh the "other" one to check that no-one has added the ID before I click on my one.

So I think that most people will gradually stop duplicating IDs, as they learn the system: but there are so many new people constantly arriving here that there are always going to be people making these mistakes.

I guess we just have to learn to ignore it!

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:

Amadan's picture

I've also duplicated identifications

By taking a good while to double-check my guess. What I'm talking about is duplicates added hours or even days later, and not by the original poster.

synan's picture

Programming change

I seem to remember one new user trying to justify duplicating an ID in terms of 'ownership' of the observation. I can't see it myself, but given how widespread the practice is, perhaps there is something about the system - to borrow a user interface term, an affordance - that invites this action.

A programming change would prevent it: if an ID (scientific name) already exists, warn the user and prevent a duplicate. I think this would be relatively easy to implement compared to the coding required for, say, associations. Probably not a high priority.


Rachy Ramone's picture

That would do it!

That would certainly be a boon - I take it you mean that when the slow-typing or carefully-checking user (ie me) clicks to confirm the ID, the system checks the current version of the page, and says "sorry, already exists".

That would be great!

And I would say - from the luxurious position of having achieved four icons - that getting ID points is not THAT important! Better to get your ID correct, with some relevant info, than to rush out an ID and either get it wrong - embarassing - or fail to add some reason or justification as to why you chose that ID.

I do get a bit vexed sometimes when people pop up an ID without any hint as to why. It really wouldn't take that long to say "has this xxx feature".

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:

dejayM's picture

Sorry, you've been outbid

Yes, THAT sounds really good - many websites prevent RE-registration or the second-use of an email address, for example - with a simple "Already Exists". eBay does it well with Bids.
Embarrassingly brilliant!

As for Rachy's "I do get a bit vexed ...".
Vexed, VEXED! I roll around near my computer cursing those numerous Blind IDers. In my time here I have asked "please say HOW you came to that conclusion?" to find that many, usually correct, IDers don't read comments (or ignore my plea)- another issue entirely.

Rachy Ramone's picture


I like it! *laughs* Yes, that's the facility I am now hoping that iSpot adopts. *puppy eyes*

Blind IDs, ah, yes, IDs with no reasoning or explanation: and yes, it VEXES me, Derek: I can't roll around on the floor near my compooter as you do, I'd end up covered in fluff: but I do get quite vexed.

It's been mentioned before, but it would be an enhancement to have the "ID notes" retitled as "ID reasoning" or something like that, and to have it compulsory. So an ID can't be added without at least some justification.

If it were, I am sure a lot of people would just type "giss" or "cos it looks like it" but hopefully most people would stop and think how they can convey to others the factors that make them positive about the ID.

I'd definitely be in favour of that.

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:

John Bratton's picture

If I had to write a

If I had to write a justification for every id., I would add far fewer ids. Which is more desirable, quantity or quality?

I'm sure most posters are not naturalists wanting to learn how to do their own identifications, they just want a name for their photo, and nothing wrong with that. Those who do want to know why can always ask. After I've added an id., I usually put that posting in my favourites for a few days so I usually see any requests for more info.

One problem is that with limited online time (an hour a day in local library), I'm finding the forum more interesting than the pictures recently.

Ray Turner's picture

I agree...

... with the interest in the forums John, I too seem to be spending more time on them these days than actually looking at observations.

On the point of justifying IDs though surely if one is saying you are certain about a specific ID then a couple of bullet points outlining the major diagnostic features is no great hardship. By definition those people wanting to put a name to a photo don’t know the details but I think it is incumbent on those providing the ID to explain why.

Yes this is a site for all levels of ability and interest but it is also supposed to have a scientific footing so we should at least try and show an example.

Quantity v quality? Quality every time.



landgirl's picture

Yes, but....

...I don't always feel inclined to explain my ID when the person posting the photo hasn't bothered to add any description. This includes those with 4 plant icons and above (can't comment on other sections).

dejayM's picture

nicest things

Yes Alyson, there are a number of courtesys not applied in iSpot. I keep reading excuses, mostly from seniors, about not having time to add words.
Part of the issue here is Clog - each time I visit iSpot it seems clogged with postings from people who want only more agreements or a name for their subject - blind posters - and who will not respond to comments or a kindly proffered IDs. This must be, because there are a LOT of them, because they do not understand the ethic - never been told.
I believe, and this will make me even less popular, that iSpot Mentors should spend a little more time here helping us to understand the nicest, most valuable, things about the site.

John Bratton's picture

You often can't define an

You often can't define an identification by a couple of bullet points and to try could be misleading. For the next few weeks there will be almost daily postings of the beetle Oedemera nobilis. The males are easily recognisable by their swollen femora and metallic turqoise colour. But those two characters apply equally to many flea beetles, some reed beetles and possibly a couple of longhorns, and really you identify O. nobilis by a range of subtle characters including venation and shape which can't be summed up in bullet points.

Masked Marvel's picture


In my (admittedly more simple) world of amphibians and reptiles there was a lot of confusion over one particular identification. Instead of having to repeat myself I created a forum post which explained the characteristics (with links to good iSpot posts which showed the important features) and when the situation arose again I could just paste a link to the forum into the ID notes.

dejayM's picture


Quality, quality - every time.
But YOU do that - I can track at home!
That you have to go the Library to do this is the iSpot community's loss not yours - I admire your spirit.
Yes, the forums are interesting places but they will eat into your precious time in the Computer Space.
You are a good Naturalist so I'd say make quality own-posts and constructive comment in others' posts your priority - please?


John Bratton's picture

I'll do my best. They know me

I'll do my best. They know me in Menai Bridge library and are generous with extra online time when needed (like now - 3 mins left).