John Ascher Curator

Assistant Professor at National University of Singapore and Research Associate at Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum and the American Museum of Natural History.

My primary research focus is bees and related wasps. I contribute extensively to biodiversity portals such as Discover Life and Bugguide.

I have enjoyed reengaging with inaturalist and intend to continue identifying bees and wasps to the extent possible. However, I am puzzled by some aspects of the site. For example:
1) Why is no effort made to encourage proper citation of localities in the proper sequence country: state: county: location?

2) Why is it acceptable for contributors to submit uncropped images?

3) Why are records not validated by an expert considered Research Grade?

4) Why no taxon pages for some of the most obvious, widely-known, and well-accepted monophyletic groups generally recognized by the public such as bees (=clade Anthophila)?

5) Why is it acceptable for contributors to submit images with no organism or no detectable organism as an identification request? This practice sure does waste our time.

6) Why must all images be retained even if they add no value to the site as determined by a qualified expert?

7) Why can't non-experts take the time to identify the most obvious species such as the Western Honey Bee?

8) Why is it acceptable to cite subgenera with no indication of the genus in question? This unprofessional practice is particularly unfortunate if the goal is reliable communication with non-experts.

9) I understand that not all contributors wish to share their precise location, but can't they at very least note the country in question? If that must be secret why post anything to the internet?

If these questions are answered my enthusiasm for the site will increase. Perhaps others have similar concerns?

After receiving some feedback regarding the above questions, I realize that some contributors think that the goals of promoting wide participation by the public are best met by prioritizing convenience and inclusivity rather than data quality. But wouldn't beginners including young ones be best served if localities were cited consistently and clearly, photos were legible and met minimum quality standards, and "Research Grade" observations were more or less reliable as a reference? In my opinion the general public including our youth deserve better. Steps should be taken to improve data quality even if some of these might made the site less welcoming to certain contributors who can't be bothered to crop an image or to cite localities properly.

johnascher is not following anyone.