Observation 182869: Duplicate
When: 2014-10-14
No herbarium specimen

Proposed Names

-23% (3)
Recognized by sight: Well it was a probably a mushroom, but there are no details available for review to confirm what kind.
84% (3)
Eye3 Eyes3
Used references: Observation 183188 & Christian’s confession.

Please login to propose your own names and vote on existing names.

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
By: Byrain
2014-10-20 22:41:42 CDT (-0400)

Nice pics Christian, I wish I could see them better! :)

that is funny.
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2014-10-20 22:31:54 CDT (-0400)

especially since now it’s a Duplicate

I feel like a broken record
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-10-20 21:48:16 CDT (-0400)

…but this observation is not a broken record.

I’m involved with other communities of folks that take data on a lot of different kinds of organisms besides fungi, and much of their data is what Byrain is calling “hearsay”. And it is! There is ALWAYS a degree of functional compromise, scrupulous choice of data to use, and trust involved in all kinds of science. And floristics are by no means an exception.

So, Yes! this is the kind of image I am comfortable projecting to the community (scientific and otherwise).

I do a lot of work to make sure that my identifications are accurate. Nevertheless, sometimes I blow it. Thankfully the mushroom observer community corrects me in many of those cases. I realize that they can’t help in cases where there is no data they can observe, compare, criticize, etc.

However, given the limitations of time and effort (and tradeoffs with good coverage of an area), I have decided not to take images of every mushroom I see every time I go out. I feel very comfortable identifying hundreds of species of mushrooms accurately, and for those that are also relatively common and/or distinctive, I am satisfied to simply note their identity in my notebook and upload it to MO later.

If you are not comfortable with my imageless identifications, that’s fine. You are not obligated to believe me. But for example, if I report Hydnellum regium at a specific place and you’re interested in seeing it, I’d suggest that I am enough of a trustworthy identifier that you can use my record to guide your action (ie. go there around the time I reported it and you stand a good chance of finding it).

And NO, this site is not about “adequately demonstrating” your knowledge. While that is an important COMPONENT of this site (and you will certainly be asked to do so in cases of rare/difficult to identify/exceptional records), it is not the stated purpose of the site.

MO is a database that accepts imageless records and even name/date/place only records. Which certainly has its problems. But it is not the job of any one person to call those records useless without some good reasons (ie. if the species in question is rare, difficult to identify, previously unknown from the area, or the person has no history of making pretty decent ID efforts).

As for “this would be considered a fail at even a class setting” – that still doesn’t mean anything… (other than maybe “Byrain doesn’t like this”.
People are using data from eBird for publications in Nature and Science. And it is all what Byrain is so adamant about calling “hearsay”.

“Conditions they were growing in” and “how many were there” are barely useful for ID. Not sure why you mentioned those.

In sum: No, it is not hard for me to describe what I saw. But I made a conscious decision not to for reasons stated above and elaborated in (too) many other observations on MO.

PS the funny thing about this is that I was just having upload problems. The image was eventually uploaded at observation 183188. I decided to keep this obs up because I think the discussion is important.

By: Byrain
2014-10-20 20:42:00 CDT (-0400)

That isn’t really the point, the point was that this ID all boils down to hearsay, is that the kind of image you want to project to the scientific community? At the risk of repeating myself, this would be considered a “Fail” at even a class setting. Its not about Christian knowing what he found, its about adequately demonstrating it, which no one has made even one single attempt at doing so amidst all the text typed out so far. Is it so hard for Christian to at least describe what he saw? What did they look like? What conditions where they growing in? How many were there? Anything?

By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2014-10-20 20:30:19 CDT (-0400)

“This name is designed to set aside those observations which the MO community can be reasonably certain were submitted for the purposes of obtaining an identification but are not accompanied by any images, presumably due to user error.”

Christian wasn’t looking for an ID. He knew what he saw and posted it.

“This essentially applies to four kinds of observations:

1. Observations whose owners proposed no name of their own, preferring the default Fungi sp. heading. This is considered a request for an ID, and one unlikely to ever be filled in the absence of photography."

Doesn’t apply here.

“2. Any observation whose lone “I’d Call it That” vote by its observer does not exceed an 80% confidence level (lower or higher depending on their contirbution level) and lacks images. This is presumed to be a record whose identification cannot be considered certain”

Also doesn’t apply here.

“3. Any imageless observation made by any user whose voting confidence level is beneath 80%, which speaks to doubts in the mind(s) of the observer and/or fellow user(s), doubts which cannot be explored or debated on without photographs or additional details.”

Also doesn’t apply here.

“4. Any observation of any confidence level which constitutes a record too obscure/important/outrageous to be taken on the faith of the uploader without corroborating imagery.”

As stated, G. peronatus is “easy to identify and extremely common in this area.” We’re 0 for 4.

“If at any point images are uploaded to observations named Imageless, the proposer is expected to destroy (or, if unable, simply vote down) the Imageless name proposal.

Observations to which this name should not apply includes records from forays, species lists, etc. which may not have corresponding photography but serve a valuable purpose for the owner or site at large. If asked for photography, owners of these observations will typically respond promptly with their reasoning for having none. To reiterate: when and where it was the observer’s stated purpose to create an observation without images, those are to be left alone. Images are not a prerequisite for posting.

This naming system is merely a suggestion in light of a perceived problem in the site backlog. It is 100% open to critique, reinterpretation, etc."


You are correct, Byrain, subjectivity is at work here, as it is throughout the site, as it is intrinsic to the concept of Mushroom Observer. I trust that Christian saw G. peronatus when and where he said he did.

Trust, data
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-10-19 12:04:13 CDT (-0400)

You don’t have to trust me. “More than willing to use overconfident names” means in this case: willing (“more than”?) to use a name that is commonly applied to difficult-to-identify little yellow discomycetes.

You seem to be willing to take shots in the dark as well, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing:
observation 154891

Thankfully, as you point out, there is a robust community of folks to resolve this problem – you can all go enforce the mushroomobserver fad to rename little yellow cups as “Discomycetes”. And I agree with you! Thank you for doing so.

It is very likely that mistakes will get into this database. It will be dirty – all citizen science databases are to some extent.

No floristics or breeding bird project anywhere ever required images (much less descriptions or specimens) for every single observation they use to build their final projects.

As for “this wouldn’t even be acceptable for a school project” – that doesn’t mean anything. All science at every level involves subjective decision making, often at many steps in the the data gathering process and HEAVILY in the data analysis process. To believe otherwise is to be blinded by the white lab coat…

So, I’d ask this of you: When you do get image or description data that contradicts the name applied to the observation, vote on it. On the other hand, if there is no image or details and there is no reason (rarity, difficult to identify, first record of its kind for a given area), leave it in the database and let folks decide whether or not it is appropriate data to include in whatever analysis they’re doing.

How are we supposed to trust…
By: Byrain
2014-10-19 09:26:32 CDT (-0400)

That the id is correct when you are more than willing to use overconfident names elsewhere? (obs 183308). For this to be scientifically valuable someone should be able to return to the location, find a Gymnopus and be able to compare it with your find. They can’t and this observation is not verifiable or even testable. This wouldn’t even be acceptable for a school project. And yes, MO does have the time & people-power to implement data review, its called the users. ;)

This is not about that there is no image, this is about how there are no details, at all…

By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-10-18 20:02:12 CDT (-0400)

Mycofloristics and community ecology look for complete lists of species that occur in a given place (esp. with an eye to habitat) at a given time – since both are likely to change (esp. as climate changes), keeping good lists with every species you managed to record is very important (see the idea of ‘baselines’). If future researchers decide that this data is not reliable and/or usable, that’s their perogative! But it’s a very dangerous thing to lose the data entirely.

Any particular intended uses for these obses?
By: Jacob Kalichman (Pulk)
2014-10-18 17:32:19 CDT (-0400)
Hello. I think that:
2014-10-18 15:48:00 CDT (-0400)

The place for an observation without image, is in “DESCRIPTION OF LOCATION”;
On: “http://mushroomobserver.org/location/create_location_description?id=9274”;.

Images, data, etc
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-10-18 13:38:23 CDT (-0400)

Since mushroom observer has neither the time nor people-power currently to put data review tools in place, it is up to the person who USES the data to CHOOSE the data they extract from MO.

So! The upshot of this is that you don’t have to believe that I found Gymnopus peronatus at Camp Arnold. But since it is easy to identify and extremely common in this area, I would encourage you to believe it. If I had claimed that I found a Squamanita (extremely rare) or an obscure and previously unreported Hebeloma (difficult to identify), and did not provide a supporting image, I would expect and encourage all of you to treat the record with extreme suspicion.

Bottom line: 1) You choose what data you use. 2) Mundane claims require less documentation. Extraordinary claims require more documentation.

PS – it’s also worth noting that an image isn’t an end-all in terms of supporting data. Chlorociboria species look basically identical so a macro-image identified to a particular species without supporting micro-data should be treated almost as harshly as an imageless one.

Popularity contest?
By: Tim Sage (T. Sage)
2014-10-18 12:43:21 CDT (-0400)


I think the creators could easily require an image if that was what the site intended, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

That is besides the point…
By: Byrain
2014-10-18 12:35:28 CDT (-0400)

Without any image, drawing, description or any such kind of descriptive details this could be a lot of different things. No offense intended, but the only thing supporting this ID is Christian’s say so and that is not very scientific nor does it positively contribute to scientific records. Should we start just start arbitrarily adding data to the record just based on whether we like the person saying it or not? Mycology is not a popularity contest…

Mushroom Observer has NEVER required an image…
By: Tim Sage (T. Sage)
2014-10-18 12:15:26 CDT (-0400)

And for the purposes of species lists I am glad they do not.

Without image,
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2014-10-18 06:38:24 CDT (-0400)

could be anything.

Created: 2014-10-14 18:02:59 CDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2016-07-29 13:28:04 CDT (-0400)
Viewed: 166 times, last viewed: 2016-10-24 21:36:39 CDT (-0400)
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