Fungi on the internet: Facebook vs. everything else

For me, the three best things about the internet for Fungi are Mycoquebec, MO and iNat. Facebook is as harmful as it is helpful, in my opinion. You feel me? Otherwise, why would we need SO Many mushroom pages?

iNat gets made fun of a lot in certain circles. The one I'm familiar with would say something like this: "iNat, you say? Really? Every time I go on there it's a shit show of bad ID's and top down pics?!? No provisonal names, slow taxonomic curation. Hahaha, this guy! Am I right?! Hi-five! Damn, it's not even close to MO, he's way off his rocker."

To those people I would say, I'm not going to say it's not these things. In some ways it is. For example, what if I told you that there are almost as many observations in the last three months as there are on all of MO? That surely would explain the quality issues.

"But there are no good people on there!" What if I tell you that 6 out of the top ten mushrooom ID'ers who I know are my better have identified more mushrooms than are on all of MO?

"But MO?!!" Yeah, I hear you, it needs help, as much or more than we've been giving it. I'm not here to tell you to pick sides. I want MO to keep going and growing as much as anyone. I would switch back if it were easier, or upload my iNat stuff there if it were possible.

Facebook was cool, at one time, I am told, and they're still are pockets of good. I am hopeful still, but it is a microcosm of the world we live in.

So my point is this: take some of the time you would spend on there, and put it into MO or iNat. iNat needs the ID help, and MO is probably good with ID help but, $ or programmers, I don't know, I'm neither of those things right now.

Posted on Σεπτέμβριος 21, 2020 0317 ΜΜ by fungee fungee


Interesting post - thanks. I've always hoped that MO is place where there's more help with IDs, but find that I'm getting more IDs on iNat, including from yourself. Maybe because it's easier to batch-ID a lot of observations?

Αναρτήθηκε από sigridjakob σχεδόν 4 χρόνια πριν

Thanks for your take on this, @sigridjakob! I suppose we are spoiled that we have two great places to go, plus Facebook, and any complaining really needs to be given with a caveat.

Αναρτήθηκε από fungee σχεδόν 4 χρόνια πριν

I like MO and I used to post there more often when I found an unusual species that I could not identify. The easy of adding an observation would have to improve a lot in order to use it for daily use. These days the convenience of iNat and general quality of the identification process keeps me here. I can upload 100's of images at a time, sort them into individual observations and if I have added a species name to the images tile prior to the upload it will be imported too which saves a lot of time.

As you mentioned one of the advantages iNat has is a lot of observations. When comparing to a species you can review a lot of other observations and can really see the range in morphology. There are also enough current observations that you can use to see whats in season in your area as well and reduce the list of possible candidate species.

Facebook and iNat may suffer from poorer quality images compared to MO as a consequence of the easy upload processes. On iNat the really poor quality images can be ignored and those with enough information will be identified. Facebook users seem to be less tolerant about this in the comments section. The sheer number of images posted means that iNat has more good quality images than MO too.

If you want to get really good at identifying things iNat is probably the way to go. You will see more observations than anywhere else and the more you see the better you get at identification (hopefully) .

One change I recently noted on iNat is that the unknowns are not been picked up on so quickly and few suggestions are made. If an observation has an ID to species level it will be reviewed pretty quickly. If it is not to species level there will often be an agreement that it is in the right genus but few other suggestions. If the identifiers do not quickly recognize it takes a bit of work to go beyond the genus. The community needs two types of identifiers. Those that can process the large number of observations quickly and those that are willing to take more time per observation. They can be and often are one and the same people. As far as I understand all the identifiers are volunteers and of course have limits on their time. As the community grows it will need more people to help with the identifications.

I've spent a bit of time of FB recently identifying a few species here and there but I think I will stick to iNat and MO in the future as the results have more value and there is less "can I eat it" issues.

Αναρτήθηκε από lostculture σχεδόν 4 χρόνια πριν

Thanks, @lostculture well-reasoned answer there. Glad for your conclusion. At some point, people are just happy to have an answer. I think at this time of year it is tough to get any identifications anywhere, at least iNat has the A.I. to give them immediate gratification. I feel like I spend an equal amount of time on here as on Facebook saying, "there just isn't enough information for me (or anyone?) to help out," though on here it is seldom I have to tell people to post their images separately and I never have to ask for a location (that's pretty seldom anymore in FB though too, thankfully).

Αναρτήθηκε από fungee σχεδόν 4 χρόνια πριν

May I ask what is "MO"? Thank you very much!

Αναρτήθηκε από memebroom σχεδόν 4 χρόνια πριν

Mushroom Observer - the other platform on which people document their observation of fungi

Αναρτήθηκε από sigridjakob σχεδόν 4 χρόνια πριν

Thank you @sigridjakob !

Αναρτήθηκε από memebroom σχεδόν 4 χρόνια πριν

I was just talking to someone about MO, which I am learning to use in addition to iNaturalist, and was told it would cause problems to MycoBank if I uploaded everything I observe on both platforms (or maybe, to MO and just to FunDiS's iNaturalist project) ...because both make "entries on MycoBank" and that to do both would create duplicate entries. That certainly is concerning, but I'm trying to unpick more about if that's true (and to what extent/when) and what might be done about it.
Because I really want to use both! Especially having found some tools to export between the two (I can go find that again and link it here if anyone's interested) that I planned to use once I got the hang of it.

I will be following up with the person who told me this soon.

Αναρτήθηκε από mkremedios πάνω από 3 χρόνια πριν

Do you mean MycoPortal rather than MycoBank? Yes, both observations would show up there if you were to document a specimen on MO and iNat. With that being said quite a lot of advanced amateurs do have their observations on both platforms, and if a scientist were to use the data, they'd presumably be able to figure out which observations were from the same specimen.

Αναρτήθηκε από sigridjakob πάνω από 3 χρόνια πριν

It is really easy to deselect either or both in their database. I do that often when researching as I don't believe a lot of either platforms identifications at the species level since so much detail is often lacking in any observation. Doing that it's nice to see where those names were being applied from the mycologists who are working on them to another degree or described them. Or to see where sequenced specimens are. Most of the best amateur mycologists in N. A. do use both to some degree anyway. It's easy to import your finds from MO to iNat, but not the other way around. Is their a requisite for submission to MycoPortal that sequences have to be linked to their pages @sigridjakob ? I have yet to find that out, I'm sort of new to using it and my specimens are still not there.

Αναρτήθηκε από fungee πάνω από 3 χρόνια πριν

My only direct experience with Mycoportal is uploading 26 of my club's NAMP-sequenced specimens directly, ahead of depositing them with BRIT (Botanical Research Insititute of Texas). While one can add sequences directly to the MycoPortal entry, I merely add the iNat link to the record, since the iNat observation already has the sequence and the Genbank accession # attached. I figure if someone's determined to track down one of my specimens they'll figure it out, whether through iNat, Mycoportal or Genbank.

Αναρτήθηκε από sigridjakob πάνω από 3 χρόνια πριν

I did mean MycoPortal (I think) thank you! I am glad to hear there is a solution (or...a lack of a problem) I will try to communicate that as best I can to the person who raised the concern in the meeting & eventually to everyone in the meeting. I am still just becoming familiar with these databases & their various purposes in mycology, how they connect to projects like FunDiS and so on.

Αναρτήθηκε από mkremedios πάνω από 3 χρόνια πριν

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