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Order of LikelyID and dictionaries

Note to be upstaged by Riaan, Magda proves that she has a cute eye and should be a professional debugger:

I noticed the ID counter is again not working, or shall I say works sometimes.

This refers to this observation:

Note the summary:

Now if you look at the observation: you can immediately see that everything is OK!
So what has Magda been smoking?

Well who on earth would have noticed this?? Note that Changes is not working, so this is pure (I dont know what: not sleuthing! But certainly well noticed!!!).
Look at this:

Now our only question is: who is the nobody? Which of the two users do not count?

Now of course, I am not one to leave things alone.
I can attest to the fact that it said 1 agreement and when I opened it there were two. But I then agree-ed and it jumped to 3. And then I removed my agreement and it became 2. and just for fun I did it again and it did the same.
So the counter is working OK now. It was just the hiccup from 1 to 2.

Of course, who will believe us? So thanks for the screen grabs Magda (I should have taken one too - so stupid!!! Now they can say that BWright agreed between Magda taking the screen grab of the ID and her taking the screen grab of the Agreements, and if she did not refresh the page that would explain that - my screengrab would have clinched it. So stupid!! Now even I wonder! So stupid! Sorry Magda).

So dejayM: what award for Magda?

Please award both _Magda and Magda my agreement (to spiders) and the OoAb
Order of Anti-bug (can’t use the word bugger here

It’s early in the morning, so the brain is still a little woolly.
Are you fellows (Tony and Riaan) saying this is a new problem on iSpot?
Why then did I create the Massonia project ? All that the TRUMPING experts needed to do was remove their agreements of the incorrect ID, to prevent the rot being entrenched on iSpot.
This one’s a good example

I thought that the project might draw attention to the problem, but don’t think it has. Who is the identified iSpot expert on Plantae / Spermatophyta / Angiospermae / Magnoliophyta / Monocotyledonopsida / Lilianae / Asparagales / Asparagacea / Hyacinthaceae / Massonia?


Until the dictionary is updated the last thing we want is experts on the system!
They will make the correct ID, and because it is not in the dictionary the ID will vanish and have to be re-identified later in order to make it link. VERY BAD!!

The last thing we want to do is draw attention to the problem. Only after the dictionary is updated will it be meaningful to attend to this issue. Until then it will only make matters worse.

Yea - it’s been a bad day,
I’ve come across so many problems today, that I was beginning to feel like those others who have already given up.

OH: put this on the wrong forum. Sorry: see

3 badges outvotes a silver and a gold badge!!

I might suggest that this forum be ‘saved and accessible’ but closed otherwise but only WHEN the main site is working well enough.
It’d be nice to start afresh with a well-designed layout, Topics and Categories sorted with a team of Moderators who will HELP!.


An expert being trumped by a user with NO REPUTATION AT ALL!!

Not sure if this is the best place to post this - but could we have Symphytum x norvicense Leaney & C.L.O’Reilly added to the dictionary. We are ‘evolving’ new Symphytum hybrids every ten years or so (think another one may have popped up this afternoon, subject to examination of voucher material) - but unless ISpot keeps pace with changes in nomenclature it is going to be difficult for ISpotters to find and ID (or even be aware of) these hybrids.

It is obviously going to be a long, long time before that happens.
Meantime, go see how I nearly ruined your Norfolk
Is this the same?


We have been trying to get iSpot to update our dictionary forever. We can provide updates at quarterly or half yearly intervals for southern Africa. No reason why any other dictionary cannot do the same!

OK: several issues here:

  1. go to the forum UK dictionary updates (please: not the southern African forum)
  2. on the s Afr dictionary update, you will need to provide a reference to the new species (or cultivar - we dont do hybrids)

and now:
Symphytum asperum x orientale (S. x norvicense) - and you give your source as NBN atlas. cool. now go and look at their source; UK Species Inventory - or in short UKSI.

Now see
What is the iSpot dictionary :: Natural History Museum’s UK Species Inventory
Note it is in blue so click on it! What a stupid result: surely you expect to open on the page of the Natural History Museum’s UK Species Inventory??
Anyway - note the abbreviation UKSI - or UK Species Inventory

The name is already on the UK dictionary, it is just that it is so long since the dictionaries have been updated (Sept 2014 to be precise) onto iSpot that they are all now quite out of date. ALL OF THEM!

A despicable state of affairs, especially as SANBI has had 5 updates of the iSpot dictionary since then, which the OU have failed to upload. (personally, I think no one knows how!!)

Bottom line. No need to add this instance to the iSpot dictionary. Just enquire when the #<!! the dictionaries are going to be updated!!

((Sorry for the long detour. Had this been a southern African case I would have picked this up straight away. But for the UK I had to explore and find out for myself what was happening. Thanks for the opportunity to find out that the dictionary issues are not purely southern African. Please do me the favour of complaining to someone.))

detour yes. I could have said at JoP’s first instance that it IS in UKSI but not iSpot (& I suspect Jo knew that).
I was told recently (I am repeating myself) that it costs a lot of money to have updates coded in, even if “no one knows how”. @miked ? If it’s a question of money I’d rather have the much more urgent matters fixed before Dict, updates.

But I can not agree this is not an urgent matter. This is biodiversity after all. Without a name this obs. will not appear in any project or list.

Identification depends on IDs. it is OK for Orkney with its dozen species which are not going to change. But our southern African dictionary has tripled in size since 2014, what with the addition of Beetles, and several other invertebrate groups not in the earlier versions.
In addition, our marine species have been updated by many enthusiasts, many involved in the national SeaKeys project - all of them iSpotters hoping for the changes to be incorporated soon: now still waiting 3 years later. Over 300 newly described plant species have been added. Just among our toads we have almost 20 name changes: iSpot is now two years out of date for our most common frog species.
And our ants are now all on, with a cool new Ant book, but the ants on iSpot are still 3 years out of date and do not match the field guide and entire genera are WRONG!
This is simply pathetic!!!

It may not matter to you, but it does matter to us. And to be told that the money that was supposed to have been used to try and write the code to update the dictionaries had to be spent on the code to fix the “Current” (which is really the unread) and see the rubbish produced which does not include unread is simply a slap in the face.

The dictionary updates is merely another example of how terrible iSpot has become. It is as important as all the other bugs and needs to be given just as important a priority.

No ways that I will ever agree with you on this one …

I guess a dictionary update is not trivially easy but I would have thought that a completely automatic update system would be an essential feature of iSpot. Why is it missing?

Ok, OK. I am as affected as most by dictionary issues - several difficult instances recently and so it was within days of my arrival here. iSpot is currently trash and you (everyone here) know(s) how I feel - it matters to me.
But this has nothing to do with me of course, What I write here has no effect on whether we get dictionary updates or Notifications back - I have no influence, only low opinions.
I am close to shutting down really, as I have used far too much energy,
Unless someone is going to say soon, with a hint of truth or promise, then all this is a waste of words and brain-power.
iSpot, in its current form, will probably never be the same as it was for us anyway; the whole programme probably needs an overwrite and the complete Admin Team needs to sit together and rethink their strategy.

In the past (before Sept 2014) the dictionary updates were not easy but they were trivial. All that happened is that new species were added.
There were no instructions. So we found out the hard way.

  • Dont change a name. If the old dictionary had Genus speciesA and the name changed, dont change the name, because iSpot will show the old name as the ID and then inexplcably link to the new name. The correct thing to do is retain the old name but make it a synonym of the new name.
  • Do not use an old number for a new name. Everything will go horribly wrong.
  • Do not decide that the beetle taxonomy borrowed from CoL is terrible and delete them all and start again with new numbers. All the old IDs will become lost and disconnected from the dictionary and then have to be reidentified as the same name to link them to the new numbers.

But why is it trivial?
Because with each dictionary update, proper curation will be to change the IDs from the old names (synonyms) to the new names. It may be nifty to merely use a lookup to display Protea mellifera as Protea repens, but users - especially non-biologists will get confused. An intelligent site will display the new ID with an explanation.
But on iSpot with “Agreements” this is an issue. A workaround is to - every time a dictionary update is done - to Curatorially add the new name as a Revised ID, carrying over each Agreeer, so that the old ID and the new ID have the same number of votes. Because of the “changes” (if they ever get our unread changes working) all agree-ers will be notified of the change and can then decide to go with the new name or the old. And any users who dont care, have left or have died, will not mean that the old name will thus forever the the Likely ID on iSpot.
Similarly, species that are subdivided need to be re-evaluated, and agree-ers should be informed that the observations need to be re-evaluated. This is more tricky as iSpot wont know which of the new names (or the old) to reassign the observation to. But a curatorial comment will alert everyone, and a list of observations to be reassessed can be posted. Yes, disinterested and lost users will be a drag, but hopefully enough users can be found to update the names.

Why is it missing? Prior to Sept 2014 iSpot had a dedicated programmer who handled these things. Now the IT department managers iSpot and none of them even know how the dictionary works, let alone how to update it.

Our problems now are exactly the same as in 2014. Too few programmers, not enough money, and time and money ran out before the programming was completed. So dictionary updates were simply never got to. Along with curation. And about 50 significant bugs. And everything had to wait for 2 months because of the Xmas recess when the IT department shut down.

This time it is changes, forums and curation that have lucked out. And it does not appear that many of the over 500 bugs are being got to neither. And everything has to wait for ? months because of the summer recess when the IT department shut down.

What iSpot needs is a proper Admin Team. That is iSpot’s problem. Almost no one on the Admin team cares about iSpot. Those who do care are ignored. No one is accountable. What is needed is a Steering Committee of iSpotters to oversee iSpot!!!

Are you prepared to sit on a Steering Committee for iSpot?

I just think that ispot is seriously lacking if it does not have a specification of how to cope with dictionary changes. As much as can be done automatically should be along with a clear protocol to fix the others. Maybe you have to mothball the not-likely ids and fix the likely and future ones. I’m not a professional botanist so I don’t know the minutiae of dictionary updates but I was once a professional programmer so I have some idea what could be done. But isn’t.