Time for my PLEA

Really Ladies and Gents, I know things aren’t going great, technically speaking, with iSpot. There’s a ton of programming that needs to be done and a million bugs and other issues that need to be ironed out! I get it.

But could I just appeal to my fellow iSpot users to show some dedication and spirit? At the end of the day, its not all the fancy gimmicks, functionality and conveniences of the site that keep iSpot alive, its the USERS. The people who post pics of observations, the people who comment on them/ give them I.D’s, and even the people who just post on the forum. THOSE are what:

a) Keep iSpot going
b) Facilitate the education of amateurs such as myself on all matters and aspects natural

It’s dark days indeed for iSpot when I’m finding that Facebook groups are a better way to go in terms of getting I.D’s and information about a particular sighting/species than iSpot! Sure, Facebook isn’t a a digitized herbarium/ museum the way iSpot is, and sure, the amateur to expert ratio on FB is a bit higher in favour of amateurs, but the people on FB atleast have something which, more often, I find lacking in the average iSpot user — PASSION!

I actually came to iSpot after VMUS (Virtual Museum, run by the Animal Demographics Unit at UCT) and most of its associated, ‘amateur-science’ based mapping projects, started being neglected. I was increasingly finding that a good number of my observations were not being assessed anymore by anyone, and so I left. I know the reasons for (what I believe to be) the downfall of VMUS are entirely different to whats going on with iSpot at the moment, but nonetheless, I really feel like iSpot is still heading in the same direction.

Fewer and fewer of my observations on iSpot are getting looked at (although I know site functionality does play a significant role here, it is not the only role), and every other comment I see on the forums is someone saying that iSpot is doomed, that they’ve lost interest in posting on iSpot, and that they’re moving on. iSpot, I feel, is just becoming more and more barren

Please everyone, all I ask is that you fight the good fight and be PASSIONATE about what iSpot is all about! I’m sure iSpot’s technical issues will get sorted out at some stage. Until then, just stay strong, stay dedicated!



Very impressed!

Thought by now that my long-winded rebuke had surely earned the uncontainable scorn of atleast 1 or 2 of iSpot’s most hardcore cynics…

Good to see :slight_smile:

I think that might have more to do with hopelessness than anything else. because. yes, many people have been very passionate about iSpot. but the technical issues are making it close to impossible to use the site. Are they going to be fixed? we have had so far ONE communication from someone fronting for the technical team. (possibly I am wrong here). It’s not encouraging.

Exactly that: I have spent more time than I ought on the site, because I’m interested, want to learn, and want to help others. But it is so frustrating!
I looked in this morning (my excuse is it’s coffee break), and saw an observation I wanted to comment on (https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/uk-and-ireland/view/observation/742061/is-this-some-sort-of-flying-ant). So I went to it, and logged in - for the first time in a couple of days. But I forgot something I wanted to put into the comment.
FUBAR time: (1) I had forgotten to add it to my favourites, (2) iSpot automatically logged me out and took me to the main menu, at the top of the list again, (3) You can’t edit your comments if you do make a mistake/omission.
My concern is that, while it carries on being such a chrome-plated, brass-handled, hand-tooled bastard to work with, more of us will abandon it. Potential new users will not get help, and decide it’s a waste of time. And all that work, by lots of people (many of them more knowledgable than I, and with even more calls on their time), will be wasted.
That (forgive me for using a crude phrase commonly encountered in my industry) really boils my p*ss.

No scorn - we all share the same frustrations and those of us who have managed to access the new system (there are some who are unable to log in due to technical issues well beyond my comprehension) are sticking with it and finding other things within ISpot to amuse ourselves (this Forum and the setting up of new projects to identify, amongst other things, UK plants which currently lack a likely ID, and tricky taxonomic groups). The passion is still there, just a little dimmed by the recent changes and a bit frustrated, but we are finding through the Forum that an irritation shared is, well…at least shared; and sometimes someone else is able to help find a quick fix, which for me has made the difference between my continuing to be able to use ISpot and giving up.
Having personally just trawled through 500 odd plant posts (only 500 or so to go) which lacked a definitive ID, I am fairly confident that recent plant observations which CAN be identified have been identified (sometimes the quality of the photo or state of the specimen is such that nothing can be done, but usually someone will have explained why this is in the Comments) - but if you are aware of any groups where help with an ID is lacking then set up a project page to highlight these or post links here.

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There is a risk that iSpot will lose it’s enthusiastic participants amongst all the negativity but I’m still optimistic here. The core concept of the site (best expressed I think as the ‘friendly uncle’ who encourages people in developing their natural history skills) remains. Once we get some bits of functionality back (I’m sure you can guess what I think needs to change) it will be much easier to return to engaging with observations, and the uploading our own ID conundrums.

The current issues probably have lost us a few people but if functionality is returned people can be encouraged to come back. It still seems to me that iSpot offers something I’ve not found on other sites (I’ve looked at a few like iNaturalist and ProjectZoo and they just don’t have the same level of support that is found here) so I can see it rebuilding any lost enthusiasm.

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I’ve just found a mallow that I missed last month. You might like to change your agreement to fix the likely ID - it’s Malva trimestris not Malva alcea, though unfortunately the observer will likely not see this. (Relevance to this thread - I’d would have been unlikely to have missed it before the new release.)

Unless you object, it would be nice to see links when you mention specific posts. For those of us who are frustrated (all of us?) it’d be nice to join in where we can. Searching the site chus now for Malva alcea proved ‘entertaining’ but increased m’ stress by a lot. Nice here though…

Oops. I hadn’t realised how erratic search was nowadays.I was thinking that it’d just fall out nicely, as the latest observation of a rare plant.

Will have to wait until I am back home with my ID books but yes, will have a look.

Am relying on a couple of old Collins out here in Norway (only thing I have in my collection which covers Scandinavia) - by far the most useful thing I have looked at though is old Scandinavian observations on iSpot (new project) - very handy if you are somewhere new and not sure what to expect of the flora. Visiting iSpotters will likely be drawn to the same handful of plants - at any rate,I was able to use ISpot to pin down a couple of things I found yesterday.

Our paths gave crossed a few times in the last week or two and yet we haven’t spoken much. This is one

I took the easy option but I sometimes feet that the Comment Trail is more important than a Likely ID.
Others will read this so the challenge is to add more wisdom please. What else in iSpot is more worthy?

I agree, Anthony.Walton. I’ve found iSpot to be invaluable in the past, mainly because people have (mostly patiently) told me when I was wrong, and sometimes even why. I’ve also appreciated really expert scrutiny of ids in some of the more difficult groups.

I hope the current system can be improved bit by bit - it’s better than it was immediately after the relaunch, though it’s worrying and somewhat depressing that new problems, like the problems with carousel view, keep occuring.

I would still recommend to someone looking for in identifying something they have found - Facebook groups can do this, but you have no idea whether someone offering an id knows what they’re on about. Here at least you can see whether someone has some experience and/or expertise.

So for the moment I will soldier on. I hope others will too.

Absolutely, but it’s currently an uphill struggle I spent 3 hrs trying to load a single ob with 10 photos and an interaction yesterday and failed miserably

Yes iSpot is still offering something I don’t see other sites offering, the support in developing ID skills coupled with a reputation system (imperfect though it is) to help understand the support you are getting. If it can concentrate on that (which was it’s core mission when I was first introduced to it) I would see it as still providing a valuable resource.

Perhaps in the UK with hundreds of other sites.
But in southern Africa iSpot must fill 90% of Citizen Science needs. And it has regressed significantly both in Sept 2014 and June 2017. It no longer does what was promised to to us as a southern African community.