Numbers of Users

Not so long ago the numbers of users and guests on the site was often (usually?) well into the hundreds. A few moments ago it was …
“There are 2 guests and 2 registered users online”

There is still some life in the site but it is in need of urgent rescusitation.

From my point of view, it is too good a site to lose. Can I ask the iSpot team to please let us know what action they are going to take to save the site and how those of us who are left here can help?

Edit: corrected misuse of HTML tags.


We all know where the fault lies for the demise of iSpot and enough has been said about that. I suppose the answer is that all those loyal users who have not deserted the site should post like mad and the rest of us should then agree with what we can. In that way the activity on the site will increase and hopefully encourage new users to contribute and it may even encourage those who have left to return.

It’s a version of a well-known truism that it’s a lot easier to lose support than to regain it. Attracting the “deserters” back (and I nearly became one of them) isn’t going to be easy. As a personal view, I miss their input, both the knowledge they contributed, and the sometimes idiosyncratic way they did it. It’s almost as if old friends have suddenly stopped writing to me.
Chris is right - the cause is clear enough: the solution isn’t. A first step might be a friendly e-mail to the missing regulars, expressing something along the lines of the above sentiment. But more progress on fixing the remaining bugs is probably needed first: otherwise the frustrations will still be there.
Sadly, this is not the ideal time of year for amateurs like me to “post like mad” - finding the time to go out looking for cooperative wildlife in a wintry landscape isn’t too easy.

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I agree it is not the best time of year to capture new species but I’m sure we all have many un-posted images from the summer that might just kick start activity on the site.

The site is less buggy than it was and is now usuable but if you want an update on those bugs “don’t hold your breath”.


The greatest needs, at the moment, are -
◘ nurturing new arrivals and beginners and those who need support and advice
◘ post inspiring and powerful Observations - ones that might serve as exemplars
◘ give as many agreements as we can muster
◘ add comments to support enthusiasm, excellence and diversity
◘ encourage those who have left, to return - make certain that when they look, it appears to be working well
◘ talk UP the good points
It sometimes feels very stale here and like others, I really felt like migrating a few weeks ago. I keep myself going with attempts at excellence and I use projects to keep my own interest up.

I can’t say about other groups, but plant observations always dropped off greatly over winter.

Yes, except for mosses which seem to become more visible at this time of year. We also see an upsurge of fungi late in the year. Unfortunately many members of both of these groups can be a bit tricky to identify from photographs.

Valid points but I think the emphasis for now should be to increase all activity on the site. That may then stimulate new users (which could then be encouraged) and might then attract back those who gave up and left.

One thing I want to try to do is focus more on difficult groups (although for me this will always be plants as i don’t ‘do’ anything else). I have set a few up as projects and I think a couple of other users (LavateraGuy?) have done the same. Other ‘advanced’ botanists may like to join in. Its not going to attract new users though…

Is there anything more we can do using projects to generate interest? An online Flora of London or some other major city (with the blessing of the local Recorder, of course). Birds of ???

In the past perhaps many of the ‘guests’ were bots, crawling the internet. Some like google bots were legit, scanning web pages to list them in searches, others maybe more sinister.

I think I’d expect them still to be there.

Good News I think is that there are quite a few members of the southern African community who appear to be on-line. And I see that there also appear to be quite a few newcomers.
Maybe some of the UK members could take a look at these observations (not that many) and possibly post an encouraging comment or a generic ID so that these folk will not think that iSpot no longer exists in Africa.

Meanwhile dejayM has spurred me on with LICHENS - good in winter - see the proliferation of projects.

Also, I’ve set up two - very basic London projects - could others be set up to encourage tourists to add their pictures?
This was an observation by a tourist at the Cape in October 2017 - I was thrilled by his comment “Thanks, I’d never expect feedback on a group of organisms that goes unnoticed by many”

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I’m still hoping that the southern African community will not collapse and maybe tourists could be encouraged to post observations.
Possibly we could encourage Gigi or Corinne Merry to watch out for the Table Mountain, Cape Point and West Coast observations.
Another iSpotter we don’t want to loose is Nicky vB for the Cape Garden Route

There is of course a major London Flora project ongoing (as part of the work of the London Natural History Society - Several years of field work still to go before we can think about methods of distributing it of course.

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When iSpot started a large effort was made to go out to natural history societies and seek people to get involved (that is why I am here). The idea being to get a core of people with some knowledge (‘friendly uncles’ as one person referred to them) so new users would get some informed engagement.

I suspect if the interest (and resource) is there team iSpot could rebuild a similar engagement again (after-all iSpot had zero users before it existed). Whether that is there is less clear.

The various bugs recently have been annoying but the core functionality seems to be back (with some improvements such as a more sophisticated notification) so I’m happy to be as enthusiastic as I ever was promoting the site.

There are so many really great projects which we should be sharing.
See this one I found today. Is it possible to find a way to promote the really good ones - maybe something like a star rating?

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No need to identify this Snake in the Grass
Thank goodness we get feedback on our observations etc
I’m finding this comment on all my recent input to the SA community. Seems to me that he is deliberately trying to undermine iSpot - I’ve reported the one comment - can we not do anything else?
so long and thanks for all the fish
3 December 2017 - 4:03PM Tony Rebelo
Cape Bird Club
Entomological Society of Southern Africa
South African National Biodiversity Institute
Botanical Society of South Africa A-team
Protea Atlas Project
South African National Parks Honorary Rangers
Toyota Enviro Outreach
Friends of Tokai Park
Senior Scout Adventure
Western Leopard Toad Volunteer
Please Note. the iSpot southern Africa community has moved to - SANBI is no longer active on iSpot. You are most welcome to move along with us. We regret this decision, but unfortunately iSpot no longer meets our needs.
Dear s Afr iSpotter
Our community has decided to join iNaturalist at - SANBI has initiated the the repatriation of our data. Please consider joining us at iNat in our own community. There are lots of cool features: Courses are planned

I still have 300 more observations for Roddy Ward to post: they will be posted on iNat. Sorry.

Snake in the grass.
Who for 6 years ran hundreds of courses on using iSpot, solicited thousands of users, was led up the garden path with unfulfilled promises, who updated the dictionaries every 6 months to no avail because no one knew how to add them to iSpot, and who watched iSpot deteriorate from a world class site to rubbish, while at the sane time iNat expanded from a back garage site to something really worthwhile, actually fulfilling its promises (and I swear, using our southern African wishlist - now lost in the degraded forums - to improve their site).
The fish were good, while they lasted …

i think, perhaps, Tony will have enough ‘good news’ to start a new iZaNat news-thread in the Za Community Forum here - I might read it.
We are ticking along nicely, still anxious and hoping for even more improvements but now there is little shouting from the sidelines, we can concentrate on the simpler things.
As for " I still have 300 more observations for Roddy Ward to post" I think you, Tony, should really be gracious add those to iSpot - it is a fine tribute and needs only a small gesture from you.
Oh, I am reviving my Fish Project, thanks for the mention…

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Tony was extremely helpful while he was on ispot. It was unfortunate that ispot was starved of grant money and ended up with the university having to put in very large amounts of its own money into maintaining and rewriting the site from scratch so it was not able to implement many of the exciting things that Tony, and the rest of us, wanted. It is not surprising that he eventually moved to an alternative site that has loads of money and is able to put these things into practice.
Personally I think it is dangerous to just have one site that deals with biodiversity (there is a hint in the word itself), I was always happy that there was an ecosystem that included inat and ispot and other sites. The tricky thing is that there are a limited number of humans that are able to carry out the identifications and they like to be social on a limited number of sites. Perhaps they could be occasionally pursuded to visit other sites (as indeed Tony does), after all it is the worlds biodiversity that is at issue here not personal interest in which site is best for whatever aspect.