AlanS's picture

ID instant editing for blip-brains

Take obs. as an example.

There I was, perhaps rashly identifying an out-of-focus lichen, rightly or wrongly rejecting the more obvious possibility of Lecanora muralis, and deciding it was most likely to be Aspicilia radiosa.

But it was 1.16am and it was maybe more than 15 minutes since my last coffee, and I typed "Aspicilia radiata". I spotted it one second too late, as I clicked on the button to post it.

OK, I should have let the auto-complete provide a check on the name, and usually I do, but this time my brain was in blip mode.

So I added another "ID" as the correction, but it was messy.

Now it is a principle of the site that submitted IDs have to stand, and I agree with that. But it would also be nice to have the ability to correct, immediately, a bad typo in the name or associated notes.

Could there be a short period of grace, not more than 10 minutes and before there have been any agreements or other IDs added, when a submitted ID CAN be corrected or even withdrawn? Call it the "I've just done something stupid cooling off period" (IJDSSCOP for short.)




lavateraguy's picture

This would also be useful for correcting ...

... any formatting errors that have crept into the ID notes.

Amadan's picture

Agree whole-heartedly

And I'd like to be able to delete my attempt if I discovered that, whilst I vacillated; a more confident/capable member had put in the same species, beating me to it.

lavateraguy's picture

A more specific modification ...

... would be to offer you an option to "merge" a duplicate identification - that is the identification is removed, and you and any agrees get added to the list of agreements on the earlier one.

But, it often happens that the later identification is a later identification because the author has taken some time to add some identification notes, and we wouldn't want to lose those. This leads me to the idea that the ability to add identification notes as well as agreements is desirable.

Tony Rebelo's picture

duplicate IDs

iSpot should not allow duplicate IDs!! It is a bug!

if an ID is already posted (just the Scientific Name, the vernacular is irrelevant) then iSpot should warn you and ask if you would like to agree to the existing ID. Not a difficult piece of code to add in.

It would also stop the rampant duplicate IDs we see in southern Africa due to slow internet, resulting in users thinking that the ID has not been accepted and then pressing the upload button again (and sometimes again and again). In addition to the occasional fast double click which sees two IDs posted by the same user at the same time.

As I said: it is a BUG!

Note that "certainty" applies only to the first poster of the ID, so that it is irrelevant to the actual identification.

Ambroise's picture

And this would be good for

And this would be good for typos as well for those of us like me who are not native speakers, dyslexic and in a rush! Or spell check like e.g. in MS Word.

dejayM's picture


Oh, DO take care with this -
See my comment here

AlanS's picture


I agree with much of that comment, and identification trails should stand, However, I still think it would be valuable for us and for the site if errors can be instantly corrected after posting, i.e. within the IJDSSCOP (an acronym that is defined above and one that I am sure will catch on, soon ...)


JoC's picture

Editing ID posts

I agree. I made a spelling mistake on an ID I posted, which dj has mentioned.
I noticed it within a few minutes and posted a comment to that effect, but was unable to correct it. Can I support Alan's proposal that, in such circumstances, the poster can edit within a time limit of 10 minutes?
I have now reposted with the correct spelling.


dejayM's picture

support but..

I have not thought this right through but yes, I would support the ten minute rule. I would also allow the ID to be deleted within that period but, BUT, if comments and agreements have already been added then the mistake should remain.
I edited THIS comment three times!!

lavateraguy's picture

On the other hand ...

... I would have some concern about creeping complexity in the iSpot implementation.

dejayM's picture

keep it simple

Yes, excellent point; I DO agree with you, as I believe starters might have an enormous problem with this. I have thought all along that mistakes are usually the fault of the writer and we should learn to live with them (the mistakes!) or take more time over what we write.
And yet another mistake, in the dying seconds of extra time, might occur! In fact it's likely.

lavateraguy's picture

for clarity ...

... while creeping complexity in the iSpot interface is also a cause for concern, why may well be relevant here, it was complexity in the implementation that I was expressing concern about.

Keep it simple applies to both.

It has been said (often attributed to Einstein) that a scientific theory should be a simple as possible (while still explaining the observations) but no simpler. Similarly a computer system should be a simple as possible (while still doing the job) but no simpler.