Taken for granted?

I provide a few IDs on iSpot and have done for a long while. I don’t know whether it is just me, but I am getting fed up with providing an ID and getting no thanks, no acknowledgement from the poster…then I see that the next day they are posting the same photo on other social media (facebook/twitter) proudly declaring the ID I gave as if it is their own ID!

If it were not for the fact that I collect hoverfly records from here for the recording scheme, I think I’d stop looking at iSpot…it’s good to help people identify what they have seen, but I don’t like being taken for granted.


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In the older iSpot, with the Unread feature, making an acknowledgement cluttered everyone else’s Unread. Since Unread went (but I want it back) it’s not so bad now, but it still adds entries to the change tracker for everyone who’s agreed or commented on an observation, or favourited it.

If iSpot was more like a social media site, you could send people private messages, but iSpot is by intent not a social media site,

I remember a debate about this in the old forum section - opinion being divided at that time. The point about this not being a “social media” site is still valid, but I have always felt that a certain amount of non-technical comment and a bit of “banter” are both acceptable and generally welcome.
Given that iSpot is now better at communication (as exemplified by the e-mails about forum changes I receive), than at coding to help with the technical side - the drop-down species lists being one case in point - it wouldn’t be beyond the wit of programmers to add a button to a post, that would send a thank-you e-mail to the person who provided an identification. This could be extended to do the same to someone who added a comment explaining why an identification wasn’t correct, what features were crucial, or answering a question such as “is this a female?”.
Such a button need not produce a comment visible to others, which would please those who prefer the site to remain “purist”.
Finally: I usually remember to say “thank you” for identifications and other help. But, specifically, “thank you, ophrys” again: not just for said input to my posts, but for your invaluable contributions to the site.
Edited: I ran out of time this morning, forgot we had two volunteer jobs this weekend. I meant to add that I think using or posting photos that have been identified by others without acknowledgement is effectively plagiarism. I’ve posted photos on other sites (such as local nature reserve pages), but I’ve always credited others if they’ve provided the identification. Any less is, at least, ingratitude.

I have put a note on the front page about this.

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When iSpot hit the buffers last year, I used Comments to express my thanks to the gentleman who got me started with my very first ID and many others thereafter. Like the creators of iSpot, he helped open the door to a passion that will stay with me for life.

It’s very likely he never saw my Comment but it was a slightly strange outcome to get no response (or at least one that I have been able to find). On reflection, I think it just shows what others have said - iSpot is an awkward medium for this kind of interaction.

Ian, never doubt the value of your efforts and how much they are appreciated. I discovered iSpot before the FB groups and if ophrys hadn’t got me started on hovers I may not have found Ian and co on FB. That would be a shame and my loss.


Thanks for adding that, Mike.

Cheers, Mike and thanks for all the great posts. It’s less a question of not feeling valued than the cheek of people who take an ID and then run with that on other social media sites, with no thanks or acknowledgement at all, as if they have IDed the stuff themselves!! :wink:


Sometimes it may just be a lack of awareness of the etiquette in biological recording and ignorance of the expertise required to give consistently reliable IDs. And other times it’s just bad form!

Perhaps Mike could add a sentence to his note on the front page something like: “If you post the observation to another site please acknowledge that it was identified on iSpot and give the name of the identifier”. This would be marketing for iSpot to larger user bases as well as due courtesy.


Quite agree I post photos on Flickr and often add thanks to ISpot for ID.

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Good point - thank you for raising it. I’ve used Ispot since 2015 and was aware that acknowledgements cluttered other users’ Unread boxes. At times, this made me wary of saying thank you. As regards the correct etiquette for attributing identifications when posting elsewhere (irecord), I usually credit the ID as ‘via Ispot’ or ‘Ispot user’ because I was unsure about giving the name of the identifier (most use pseudo names). Miked’s comment on the front page is helpful and should alert users to what is expected, maybe add a bit about how you find the identifier’s name.

Not personally bothered if people do not post to thank me for providing an ID. Important that the determiner be acknowledged in any biological record though.

And thanks from me too, Mike (a simple ‘thanks’ here wasn’t enough characters).
Later… I just read dejay’s comment on the Marine Matters forum, that these comments can be edited. I had no idea, but here I am doing it… and I can ask why, though I thought I was replying to Mike and it would appear under his comment. But it was at the bottom of the list of comments.
Even later…I now see that there is a symbol top right of this post, showing that it was a response to a specific person. It should have been to Mike, of course, but I clicked the reply to Ophrys’ reply to Mike. But i think I’ve got the principle now.

Yes, but I suspect that is not happening in a fair few cases. My point is that I’d like some acknowledgement if the photo I IDed starts appearing elsewhere using my ID…in that case, I think there should be some acknowledgement of where the ID came from, if only (as stated by others above) ‘ID from iSpot’ or similar.

When I started on iSpot I would thank people for ids. then I realised it wasn’t general practice, and stopped. I will certainly do so from now on - it’s more civilised.

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There are two issues here. One is claiming elsewhere an id which was provided on iSpot, as one’s own. That’s plagiarism.
The second issue is thanking iders of our posts. I thank them and generally add some further comment while I’m at it, especially if it’s a newish iSpotter.

Like Joe F, I’m in favour of Civilisation.

Ian, of late my contributions to iSpot have been, well non-existent. I got very frustrated with it etc. all the issues well documented and so on. I know I have found your assessments extremely helpful. I would hope that an acknowledgement on whichever other website would be the norm; in interests of transparency and honesty I am now doubting if I have ever done this myself. I think I have in fact done the reverse e.g. someone else clinched an ID which I have then added to iSpot but I am certain in this case I have provided at least a credit in notes. Hope this makes sense. Perhaps I should come back.

It strikes me that one approach might be - assuming that the site in question allows comments - to post links to the original iSpot post, noting that this was the source of the identification.
This wouldn’t only permit the original contributor to be credited, it might help raise iSpot’s currently low profile.

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Hello a McDonald, I see you are back by several agreements you made yesterday. Birds are beyond me, but the one I noticed, called Ducks, was another ispotter we welcomed back.

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Hello, and thanks, yes I have returned and hope to make it here regularly again (fair bit to catch up with) remains to be seen how I get on with the overall poorer ‘new’ version; but I will give it my best shot. Mac

This is FAR from the simplicity implied here. iSpot is loaded with people, not all beginners by a long way, who do not use the site like ‘we few’ do.
Many (it might be safe to say most!) users may have NO idea that the Tracker exists or maybe what it might be for. A few of those will go back to their Observations (maybe use my iSpot/Observations) and see that they are (or are not) dealt with but will not go to comments - why should they? How do they know they exist?
And why should they know about Site Etiquette?
Even more users won’t read News Items - again WHY should they?
Over recent times I have left pleading messages to current users (I check THEIR tracker) who have still not responded. At least one regular and very well-regarded senior here, leaves notes about the Tracker, but I have not seen a single response to one of those.
It may not be protocol to pick on one user but I have no other way to make my rather forceful point.
Look https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/uk-and-ireland/view/observation/233330/unidentified-seaweed-6
The user, whose name we do not need to remember, is NOT unusual. She has been here 7 years, has 142 excellent Observations and one icon and yet appears not to understand? I MAY be VERY wong but it serves my aim.
My point?
There needs to be a better way, than a note in News (the page is very stale - tweets and quizzes) or comments added to their Observation.
There needs to be a highlighted box in the ID panel which shows (12) COMMENTS ADDED and maybe another which says ACTION NEEDED - for those who forget to fill the Habitat box or put the Location in the Centre of the Med.
There needs to be a gorgeous Introduction-pack, short, to the point (five points of etiquette), persuading newish users how to get the very best out of iSpot. .And this needs following up by an iSpot mentor - of course I do not mean the solitary Curator.
Newbies need to be nurtured here. Quite a lot post once and leave. WHY?