Archivos de Diario para mayo 2017

10 de mayo de 2017

Identification Quality Experiment Update

Hey folks, just checking in re: the Identification Quality Experiment. I really appreciate everybody's help. We now have over 3,000 expert IDs to start doing some analyses. Based on the data so far, 92% of the sample of observations were correctly ID'd. This is relative to the expert's IDs and assumes the expert is always right, which as @rcurtis, @charlie and others have mentioned isn't always the case, but lets assume its generally true.

One of my main questions is whether we can quantify how the accuracy of iNat observation's (that is the probability that they are properly identified) varies based on the contributions of the 'crowd' of IDers. My hunch is that 'earned reputation' of individual identifiers can be a pretty good indicator of whether an observation is properly ID'd or not. For example, if I've properly ID'd ladybirds a lot in the past (at least relative to the opinion of the community) does that mean that future observations that I identify as ladybirds are more likely to be properly identified? My hunch is yes, but in order to prove / quantify / model the relationship, we need a set of expert-identified observations (which is where your contributions to this experiment come in).

Let me first provide some background to my thinking about 'earned reputation'. I've grouped identifications on the site into four categories. Lets say an observation has a community ID of 'Ladybird Family'. The community ID is the consensus identification that emerges from everyone's IDs and dictates where an observation hangs on the tree of life. If I add an identification of 'Seven-spotted-ladybird'. This would be a 'Leading' identification since it is of a descendant of the community ID, but one that hasn't yet been corroborated by the community.

Lets imagine that enough people corroborate my 'Leading' identification that the community ID moves from 'Ladybird Family' to 'Seven-spotted-ladybird'. This would then become an 'Improving' identification because it is one that moved the community ID ball forward (ie it was the first suggestion of a taxon that the community later agreed with). I'm referring to the corroborating IDs as 'Supporting' identifications. They helped move the community ID from 'Ladybird Family' up to 'Seven-spotted-ladybird' but they didn't provide any novel suggestions.

Lastly, lets say I proposed something that the community disagrees with. For example, lets say I added an ID of 'Honey Bee' but there was still enough community weight for 'Ladybird Family' that the community ID remained there. Because my ID of 'Honey Bee' is a lateral sibling to the community ID (rather than a descendant or ancestor) lets call it a 'Maverick' identification. This doesn't mean I'm necessarily wrong, but it does mean I'm out of step with the community.

Now lets imagine that there was an observation of 'Ladybird Family' on iNaturalist and all we know about it is that it was identified by me. Lets call the number of times in the past that I made 'Improving' identifications of ladybird 'wins' (that is the times that I was the first to propose ladybird and the community later backed me up). Similarly, lets call the number of times in the past that I made 'Maverick' identifications of ladybirds 'fails'. Lets say my track-record for Ladybirds was 30 wins and 1 fail. Is there a correlation between this earned reputation and the probability that the observation ID'd by me as a ladybird is properly IDed?

The graph below shows all ~3,000 observations in the 'expert ID' sample as points colored by whether they were properly ID'd (gray) or improperly ID'd (black) relative to the expert-opinion. The x-axis shows the total number of 'wins' summed across all the identifiers contributing to that observation before it was assessed by the expert in this experiment. For example, if an observation was ID'd be me and charlie, the community ID was 'Carrot Family' and charlie and I together had 300 'wins' from past observations of carrots we'd ID'd, then the observation would sit around 300 on the x-axis. Similarly, the y-axis shows the number of 'fails' summed across all identifiers. The colors increasing from blue to red is the modeled probability that an observation is properly ID'd based on the number of win's and fails.

The model shows that there is a strong correlation between the number of wins and fails from the community of IDers and the probability that an observation is properly ID'd. For example, while the model suggests that an observation ID'd by a community with 0 wins and 0 fails (e.g. we know nothing about their earned reputation for that taxon) is 96% correct (lower left of the graph), an observation ID'd by a community with 200 wins and 0 fails for that taxon is 99% correct. Similarly, an observation ID'd by a community with 10 wins and 10 fails is 62% correct.

2-caveats: first, we know that the expert-IDs aren't always right so there's reasons the community is probably performing better than this model would indicate. But similarly, ID's aren't all independent (there's some group-think) so the community might be performing slightly worse than this model would suggest (which assumes IDs are independent). Second, we know there's a lot of other factors at play here. Other observation characteristics like location and type of taxa probably influence probability that obs are properly ID'd.

But as a simple, first-order approach. This study seems to indicate that there is a strong correlation between taxon-specific past earned-reputation among the identifiers of an observation and the probability that the observation is properly identified. This makes intuitive sense, but its cool we can quantify it. It would be pretty neat to use something like this to be a bit more rigorous and quantitative about the 'Research Grade' threshold which currently is pretty naive. We could also use something like this to try to speed up getting observations to 'Research Grade' status by putting them in front of the right identifiers (who we can target based on this passed earned-reputation). But there are also ways that this kind of system could bother people. Maybe it unintentionally gamifies things in a way that undermines the process. Or maybe its too black box and turns people off ('why is this observation Research Grade and this one not?').

Curious to hear you're thoughts. Also 3k is still a relatively small sample so would love to repeat this analysis with more IDs. So if you have the skills to help and haven't already joined the Identification Quality Experiment please do. And if you have joined, please add as many ID's through the interface as possible. Also curious to hear other thoughts on whats working / whats not working with the experiment. I know there's some concern about things like (a) ambiguous subjects of photos, and (b) accidentally stomping finely ID'd obs with coarser IDs. I'd like to find ways round these issues, but in the short term, skipping problematic obs should suffice.

Thanks again!


@charlie @fabiocianferoni @vermfly @jennformatics @d_kluza @arachnojoe @cesarpollo5 @ryanandrews @aztekium @lexgarcia1 @harison @juancarlosgarciamorales1 @garyallport @echinoblog @jrwatkin68 @bryanpwallace @wolfgang_wuster @bobdrewes

Publicado el 10 de mayo de 2017 a las 12:54 AM por loarie loarie | 15 comentarios | Deja un comentario