Re iSpot changes - from the iSpot Team

Echoing Joe’s comment above - we are really keen to move on and to be CONSTRUCTIVE

Agree with Joe
I have waited to see if anything was changing; I commented on posts but with no response; now decided to add some easy observations to see if I’d get agreements.
It’s not looking good. I think you are right, hope we don’t loose the old-timers.

New minor glitch - I’m posting here in the hope the team reads this.

I tried to insert a descriptive tag, “plant gall”, on the details form - but for some reason the program first inserted “planarian”, then “plant”, and wouldn’t let me go any further. In the end I wrote “plant gall” in another program, and copied and pasted it back to iSpot. Wtf?.

I think most of us are hanging on in here…and I have at least found a way of quickly zipping through observations in the new set-up and posting idents (thanks to a couple of other regular users) so can help with IDs again - but the ability for me to go back to my identifications and see what others make of them and then learn from my mistakes is missing with the loss of ‘Changes’ - and I think until this, what to me was the most valuable feature of the old site which is missing from the new site, is brought back, most of us won’t put quite so much effort in: we’re simply not getting anything back other than the vague hope we might have helped someone in a small way.

I’ve come across an interesting case of possible misidentification of Massonia sp, where experts have agreed and now I’m not sure how this should be addressed:

Hoping Tony Rebello will see this and follow up.
Richard Adcock summed up the differences in this post
“Very interesting that such confusion can persist for so long. From the paper the differences between M pustulta and M. longipes summarized very simply as follows:
1 - M. longipes Filament-tube/apex of perigon-filament-tube color = pink/light pink
M. pustulata. Filament-tube/apex of perigon-filament-tube color = bluish green
2 - M. longipes is a coastal species where as M. pustulata. found further inland.
3 - M. longipes has 27-36 pustules per sq. cm vs. 115 to 170 pustules per sq. cm for M. pustulata.
4 - M. longipes pustule diam. = 1,1mm / M. pustulata.pustule diam. = 0,6mm”
And yet it goes on.
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Sorry to say but I will leave this place… It is about as usefull als to use front end loader to strike a match!!
interactions are now a at least four step procediour, the site is dead slow, “my changes” are not working, map not working!
I am out of here!!
If you want to, send me a mail when the side is up and running again

A shame. Have you made any Observations Guido? That part of the site is ‘fairly well’.
(OH I see you have as I can find you easily - another part that is working),
We look at them, add new IDs, agreements and comments. By looking frequently at your own posts, you will see that we are active against all odds!

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Agree JoP, in our case being from the Southern African Community, we use the winter months to review older observations of beetles. Currently their is no way of informing our counterparts and or the person that placed the observation of the changes we make/propose. It can be likened to a total waste of time. To add to this, the SANBI dictionary has not been updated for so long that we are basically forced to remain on a lower ID level to ensure that the observation still connects to the Dictionary.
Further to this we get the distinct impression that many of our (SA Community) previously active experts (and knowledgeable members) are becoming more and more inactive by the day. What eventual effect this will have on Ispot is still to be seen - but I doubt that it will be a positive effect.
Please note that we are not in any way implying that this is a SA community problem, but rather just indicating the Community in which we operate.

I also have moments of dispair, but then I remember all the time spent by iSpot members over the years, all the work put in (and frustrations encountered) trying to upload something special. Remembering the good days of encouragement (and being rapped over the knuckles by Uncle Tony) - and how much I have learned.
I know that I go on about Lichens, but I didn’t know what a lichen was before I started posting them on iSpot. The SA Community is so important.
DON’T GIVE UP. We just need to find other ways to get round the temp problems.
Imaging how frustrating it would be for the programmers if we all gave up now.

Am right along with sentiments expressed by marlandza - DON’T GIVE UP. Have also felt disappointed by loss of functionality - I mean, since joining iSpot, my collection of field guides have never all been back in the bookshelf at the same time, all neat and tidy like they used to be. However what has happened to us now is a sobering reminder that modern IT is not bullet proof. Have had similar losses on other communities, suffered the disillusionment that is only natural at such times, but they all came back again - as there is just too much passion out there. So I do feel optimistic that with time the developers will get us back to what we were used to.

Thanks for this, helpful. I have created the filter and saved it. Sorry to say the several steps methods are less attractive, this ought to be available in one step as was the case.

Please be assured that the expert help received is greatly appreciated (before & after the changes). This IS what makes ispot…

It is annoying having to do that for your own records - ideally should be in one click as you say. It is not quite as bad as having to follow this process every time though. Once you have created the filter (in the way I describe above) there is an option to save it. Once you have saved the filter it appears in [username]-Your iSpot in the Filters tab, so it is slightly fewer clicks to get to it the next time.

To be fair to the developers the ability to save particular searches/filters so as to be able to easily repeat them was a long standing request on the old iSPot so it is good to see that created here. Just a shame it needs to be used for own records as well as for more complex searches.

Hey Loarie,

I’m impressed with iNaturalist and how in touch you are with your members.
One of the really useful things about iSpot are the tags, which can be added to observations and then can filtered by (For example: Juveniles & larvae).
Another cool feature is projects (defining a spatial area and filtering taxa)-I’ve tried to do this on iNat, but I’m not sure you have it? This feature had so much potential on iSpot but they never listened to us and updated anything. We wanted it to give a summary of the project (like number of observations, number of species, species lists ect).


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The reason is quite simple, if you pay attention.

The southern African Spot dictionary is not updated since Sept 2014 (the merger) - despite us producing updates every 6 months for iSpot.
Now look at the observation. Identifying it as Massonia longipes treats it not as the species longipes, but as a synonym of Massonia echinata: which is incorrect.
Until the dictionary is updated, this error will persist. No one wants to commit to this error, so you will not get agreement among the more alert and experienced iSpot users, and not from any experts (professionals).

It is all EXTREMELY frustrating!

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Thank you for all your hard work on this site - it really is appreciated.

As someone who has/is using this site extensively to increase their knowledge, I was wondering whether it might be possible to use thumbnails instead of titles in our Observation Lists. Many of my observation titles are requests for ID help, and now without the thumbnails to check and remind myself of my own ID’s I’m at a bit of a loss. Even if I went back and edited all the titles it might not help me that much - I struggle with remembering peoples names when I see them - so you can imagine the muddle I’d have with grasses!

I just thought I’d ask now while you are working on the system.

Many thanks, Tessa

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Logged as Bug #41 in our bug list. Not only the thumbnails, but in fact the old system of LIST/GALLERY/MAP that we used to have.

Note that although not displayed this is available to you on the new site. Click on the Map Button. This opens what we were used to seeing on the old ZA site. (how users are supposed to figure this out I dont know, and why it is so obtusely hidden is a bafflement). That LIST (first tab) view of that (which is now a simple filter with user = you) is infinitely more useful. We have asked for it to replace the current view of observations.

Another related issue, is in Gallery View. If you click on the thumbnail you get an intermediate window to waste your time and band width and make you wait. Get rid of all the intermediate windows (like we did on the old ZA site) and open them directly: that is what the users want! (what on earth is the purpose of the intermediate window??? for heavens sake!)

Yes, it’s good Scott- I spent time with you yesterday (online), It is not as good as iSpot was but I like it and it has real potential for me. The immediate difficulty for me was its Wide-World platform - I live on a UK Island. But I could easily migrate - to iNaturalist. Thanks for coming.


It’s so sad - can we really blame iSpot for the users who look at a photo, read no further, and just add an incorrect ID?
I’d dearly love it if the experts would go back to the Project ( and review their decisions, and if they still hold by this, just add a comment to this effect so that we can see how they feel after reading the literature…
IF not why can’t we go back a level and leave it as Massonia which we can all agree on. All they have to do, in most cases, is undo their “agreements”.
It’s no point me doing this - my Brownie points are outweighed by theirs.
Our latest post (July 9th 2017)
I say nothing!!

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Officially: our position is that when the dictionary is updated we will review these instances. Before then is a waste of time.

What we need is a dictionary update curation tool for iSpot, but alas, it is not even on the table, let alone development.