This article covers the following:
- How we identify particular mushrooms before posting them on the site;
- How to complain that we have misidentified a particular photo; and
- How to submit your own photos for use on the site.
Identification Rules for Photos on the Bolete Filter
All photos on this site have been authenticated according to the following guidelines:
- My acquaintance includes a small number of exceptionally qualified identifiers, along with others who have been vouched for by those people I personally know. If someone with those qualifications takes a photo, tells me the specimen was Species XYZ, and the photo matches the description I read, I accept the I.D. as gospel until someone else complains. This is doubly true if the photographer explains that he took the photo at something like the NAMA foray where other experts authenticated the I.D. too.
- If the identifier has questions about his or her own I.D., I include that as a note in the photo caption.
- If the photo does not match well with the written description, I write to the photographer with questions. In some cases that leads to better written descriptions based on the individual’s personal expertise. In others it leads to removing the photo, or marking it with some sort of proviso.
- NOTE: If we have only one photo of the particular mushroom and it falls in this category, I will typically leave it on the site with a cautionary note but will not put it on the front page for fear of confusion. Even if the ID is accurate, the photo does not represent a fair type specimen and could therefore mislead the casual reader.
- Photos on Mushroom Observer are treated with increasing deference according to the percentage they get, the number of voters, the quality of those who vote, and what I can glean from the comments. Percentages are not gospel because we do take account of relative qualifications.
- Finally, when in doubt I’m guided by a few realities.
- A photo of Mushroom ABC that’s close enough to provoke genuine expert debate about whether it’s actually Mushroom XYZ, is a photo that can useful guidance for both ABC and XYZ. (If you’re an amateur and you find a mushroom that looks like this photo, it could be either one). I will accordingly post that photo under either or both entries with an appropriate cautionary note about the disputed ID. I would be inclined against the idea of using that photo on the front page, however.
- When there are multiple photos of a given mushroom, the spectrum is more influential and important than any particular picture.
To Complain About or Critique a Particular ID
I am not, personally, a reliable enough identifier to ID anything but a few dozen boletes in my local area. I am, however, the person who approves each photo before it gets posted. If you believe a particular photo is misidentified:
- Please read the above. It may be that you’ll agree the ID is acceptable under the standards we use, even if you think the actual photo might be of something different.
- Please contact me before you send any nasty notes to the photographer. Part of my “job” is to mediate these things. Why do I think that’s needed?
- It’s been my experience that good identifiers welcome an invitation to debate their particular ID’s and are surprisingly open to changing their minds. Quite an admirable attitude if you think about it. But…
- I’ve also seen those same people react with reflexive hostility if they feel the ID is being “attacked” rather than “questioned.” It’s a case where good manners make a huge difference. And…
- The very same type of expert who we’d trust with ID’s, and who tends to be prickly about other people’s manners, will often be curt and dismissive when it comes to other people’s photos. In other words, they are the very sort of critics who are most likely to provoke a fight with someone that’s exactly like themselves. Thus…
- If you care enough to complain about an ID on this site (for which I thank you), please allow me to moderate the debate.
- In all likelihood we will move the debate over to Mushroom Observer, which has an effective and well-known system for handling these questions. By contacting me first I can make sure to invite other identifiers into that debate.
To Submit a Photo
- The best thing is to post it on Mushroom Observer and then send me an email. If you send me the photo directly it will (a) clog up my Inbox, and (b) potentially get spam-filtered because of size and/or virus concerns.
- If you fall in the small group of people I know in person, or who have been personally vouched for, I will treat it according to the rules above.
- If you are someone I don’t know (which includes the vast majority of supremely qualified identifiers), I’d have to post the photo on Mushroom Observer anyway in order to get the ID confirmed. If you do it for me that will save us all some time and effort.
Additional Consent Required Before A Photo Can Be Used For the Bolete Filter App
As I write this, only the website exists. Plans to create a for-profit app in the works but a working version has yet to be created.
- Until I get written confirmation, all photos submitted for the Bolete Filter will be used only in the nonprofit website and not in the app.
- Photos will be used in the app only after I receive written permission to do so. All permission must be in the form of a permanent (I don’t have to ask again), nonexclusive (you retain all rights to use the photo elsewhere), single-purpose (I can use the photo only for this app and/or directly related purposes), royalty-free (you do not get paid) license with author credit (you will be identified as the copyright owner of that phot). I will make a free copy of the app available to you in exchange for this license. (If that turns out to be impractical from the technical standpoint, I will write to you in order to discuss and adapt to the situation).
- An app will obviously have many more space (memory) restrictions, and will require any higher resolution photos to be reduced in size. My current assumption is that photos will have to be altered to the 50-100 kb level even if they were submitted in multi-megabyte format.
- In addition, the website can host many, many more photos than would be practical in an app. Please do not be surprised if or dismayed if particular photos are deemed suitable for one resource but not the other. I anticipate a number of links that would allow app users with internet access to easily find the website.