Steve_V's picture

Tidying up the 'Other organisms' category

I've noticed that quite a few of the entries in the 'help with id' list actually have id's provided, but they aren't shown as likely id because the original poster has tagged them as 'Other organisms' rather than what they actually are - fungi or invertebrate usually. Since hardly anyone has enough reputation in 'Other' to count, then to correct ids never get assigned.

Is there a way this category could be hoovered up - either someone going through and moving stuff where it should be, or getting them moved automatically once someone with enough reputation (from any category) provides an id? I can imagine that over time this will clog things up if it's not addressed.



martinjohnbishop's picture

How to solve this?

Allow others than the originator of the post to change the category
in the case of 'Other organisms' only. If there are any taxa that are genuinely in this class create new classes for them. Rename the 'Other organisms' as 'Unidentified' or 'Unknown'. Just my suggestion.

lavateraguy's picture

Other organisms currently (by elimination) covers ...

... prokaryotes and those prot(oct)ists which are not considered fungi (e.g. slime moulds) or plants (e.g. kelps) for iSpot purposes.

It doesn't require all that much in the way of microscopy equipment to photograph Amoebae or Paramecia.

Thistle's picture

I'm not sure

There are certainly some spots which seem to have landed in "?" through error or ignorance of how iSpot works. It would be good to get these moved but often a comment asking the original poster to move it (and, if necessary, giving a pointer as to how to move it) seems to be successful.

On the other hand there are a few posts where the correct group is uncertain in the poster's mind and possibly more widely. I've certainly posted a few, mainly galls, which I've felt could be caused by either fungus or insect. I think I'd be unhappy if anyone (with the possible exception of relevant experts) could move these. The "star jelly" controversy also comes to mind.

How would you deal with the situation of a post being moved by someone else into what turns out to be the wrong group? Who would be able to correct it?


martinjohnbishop's picture

Present situation is unsatisfactory

It was the first thing that tripped me up when I started to use iSpot
and I dared to believe that slime moulds are not Fungi.
Apparently they are 'honorary' Fungi. [Well there is an anomaly for you.]

I agree that the problem is complex and the solution is not obvious.

I suspect that only about half of Unknown posts are moved to the correct group.


Steve_V's picture

The size of the problem

I've just had a look at the size of the problem - there are 1665 observations in 'Other organisms' and none have a likely id. I agree that it seems a bit much to have anyone moving stuff around that might be there for a good reason, but perhaps this is something a few, trusted, people to take on to moderate? I'd be happy to help.....

As I said in my initial post, it's the effect on the 'help with id's' carousel on the home page that I find most irritating. Perhaps as a simple stop-gap this carousel could exclude those in 'Other'.

martinjohnbishop's picture

I agree

Your suggestions are very sensible.

Martin Harvey's picture


Thanks for the suggestions above. It's a subject we've reviewed a few times over the years and not been able to come up with a solution that satisfies all the variables. We're keen that iSpot remains an approachable site for people who are entirely new to the idea of identifying wildlife, and therefore want to ensure there is a way in for people who are unsure of exactly what counts as an invertebrate or a fungus etc.

As mentioned above, a request to theoriginal observer to edit their observation so that it goes in to the correct category can often (but not always) produce the desired outcome, but I'll keep a note of the other suggestions as well and review it again.

Just to clarify the reputation side of things, there is no reputation assigned to the "Other organisms" category, and therefore Likely IDs do not get assigned either, as they depend on the reputation score crossing a certain threshold.

Entomologist and biological recorder