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DRAFT: Contributor's Field Guide to the Frass of North America

Trying to come up with something quick and useful that editors can provide a link to when frassing an image.

So, the current Frass autocomment of:

       Moved from ID Request.

Could be replaced with

       Moved from ID Request.
       Please click here for an explanation.
Linking to this document:
Anchors are available within this document. To link to a specific section, copy the appropriate line below into a comment on the image you are frassing.

<a href=/node/view/155620#small title="Subject too small">Click here for explanation</a>
<a href=/node/view/155620#common title="Subject very common">Click here for explanation</a>
<a href=/node/view/155620#dark title="Subject too dark">Click here for explanation</a>
OR, right-click and copy the appropriate link below
Get tighter crop for solution 1
Problem: bright background - subject underexposed
Problem: replace photos in Problem #1 with something more attractive
Problem: blurred/no detail
Problem: dead/mangled subject
Add heading to restate goal of highest-quality images
Article starts here

1.) Reasonable photo, but the bug is just too small in the frame

The problem?
Our world is filled with bugs big and
small, sometimes VERY small! While your bug may look
large in the original photo, BugGuide automatically
the uploaded image to a maximum of 560 pixels
on the longest side. At that point only you and our
small number of editors can view the original image.

      the solution is...
      to simply crop and resize the image before
. If your bug still looks big and
      has plenty of detail after resizing the image
      to 560 pixels, you'll have a greater possibility
      of receiving a positive identification and
      you'll be creating a useful addition for all
      of us at BugGuide.

2.) Relatively poor photo of a very common species

The problem?
Your photo is certainly good enough to allow for
positive identification; however, the species
shown is so incredibly common that we may already
have several hundred representative images in the

      the solution is...
      not so easy in this case. You'll need to
      get back outside for this one.
      Look for a smooth pleasing background so the
      outline of your bug is clearly visible, get
      the subject sharp and large inside the
      viewfinder, and start snapping away!

3.) Subject is too dark

The problem?
When a dark subject is posed against a
bright or highly reflective background
and no exposure compensation is used when
taking the picture, the resulting image
will be too dark and lack necessary details.

      the solution is...
      one of two things. The recommended path would
      be to shoot the subject again after dialing in
      plus two stops of exposure compensation over the
      spot-metered background, or plus one stop over
      the composed scene.
      If it's not possible to shoot your subject again,
      exposure issues can be somewhat fixed by editing
      the photo with your image editing software. The
      drawback to this approach is that the editing you
      need to do will inevitably increase the amount of
      noise present in the image.
                                    Images in this article are copyright © 2004-2007 Jay Barnes

Example #2
isn't clear to me. The problem is stated as "very common species" and "incredibly common" but the proposed solution (take better quality photos) doesn't seem to address the problem.

Could you please expand on the idea(s) behind this one?

My take...
2.) Relatively poor photo of a very common species

I think that because it is 'relatively poor' and 'very common' it has little chance of surviving in the guide. Many images of 'very common' species are full of low quality images. If I want my image to stay in the guide, I should take a better shot of the insect and maybe one of the lower quality image will get frassed rather than mine...

My two cents :)

I like
I really like this idea. Even though I typically leave an explanation when I frass someone's photo, I think this idea will be incredibly useful. I would suggest maybe adding an "Image too Blurry" or "Image Quality Substandard" as a separate section apart from the common insect notation.

And in regard to section 1 ... not that I want to burden us editors even more ... but, where a photo would be salvagable through basic cropping, would it be okay to just crop the photos ourselves? I have occasionally rotated a person's picture (because a completely upside photo makes no sense to me in most cases) and just left a comment saying I did so. And although I certainly don't desire to comb through the Guide cropping pictures, I wouldn't mind just going ahead and cropping a photo (if truly necessary) that I am already IDing (I'm kinda one of those "I'll just do it myself" people).

My concern would be that the contributor would become upset because I altered "their" photo (despite the fact their original photo on their hard drive remains untouched.) Or even that cropping their photo may infringe on their copyright since it truly alters the original submitted photo, unlike simple image rotation. Does anyone think this is a good idea? Or am I trying to just work around the problem rather than solve it through contributor responsibility and compliance?

Thanks J.D.
I do have "blurred/no detail" on the "TO DO:" list above, but I should probably add another for (or change to) "generally messed up", which describes a decent chunk of the images I see.

The bug is somewhat reasonably sized but could be bigger.
Cropping won't help because the subject is unfocused or motion blurred.
White balance is way off... like by a few thousand K.
Underexposed, and too much ISO noise to attempt recovery.

To all:

I'd like to hit the 95th percentile with this article while using no more than a handful of examples, so I don't mind combining issues or allowing the solution description to address more than just the frassed image example shown.

When applicable, I also want to use somewhat "pretty" images to represent frassable material. So the general feeling will be that "pretty isn't good enough. Pretty is an add-on after you figure out how to get the details required for identification into the photo."

That reminds me, I need to add "very pretty... and very worthless" to catch all the one-hit wonders that try to turn BugGuide into their very own personal image sharing facility by uploading extreme close-up head shots, with no other detailed images to support a possible ID.

Thoughts on any of this? As I noted in my earlier post, I don't care to discuss what should and should not be frassed. You guys know what is being frassed, and I want to provide a way to make it as easy for you as "right-click / copy / paste". Someone's going to go postal again and I can't stand seeing their garbage spilling into the forums in such an unprofessional manner.

Understanding Frass
If there was a must check this check box on My Account page that confirms the user understands "this site helps expand on the natural histories of our subjects. By capturing the place and time that submitted images were taken," It is not efficient or BugGuide's intent to store millions of copies of images on-line.
Everything that is not on our Editor's Choice List will be Frassed.

We're pretty sure that BugGuide
states somewhere in the introductory pages that a submitted image might be cropped by an editor if it is deemed appropriate. BugGuide wants images of bugs not of all the surrounding space, unless that is the point of the image. We would say go ahead and crop when you like, remembering that MPG likes square images of moths. We crop images all the time so the bugs can actually be seen in the thumbnails.

Sorry, not finding the reference right now. Can't find the place that says not to have borders or other strange stuff either, but we're sure it's on the website somewhere.

It is here

"Your image must be in jpeg format. You may submit an image of any size, but 560 pixels on the longest size is preferred. Anything bigger than that will be automatically resized. For consistency, please do not include any borders or other decorations around your image. A copyright notice in the image is reasonable, but note that your copyright will automatically appear below the image. Please do not include any other text or markup in the image. We reserve the right to crop the image to emphasize the bug."

I point them to this paragraph often. Still, somebody got angry when I did it.
I have cropped images sometimes, but it is such a waste of time! people don't learn. I am getting to the point of telling them, after the second try: "Crop or frass"

I couldn't find anything specifically about cropping a contributor's image, but I did find this statement in the Terms of Use:

"I, or anyone I designate, have the right but not the obligation to monitor and edit or remove any content at anytime without notice."

I imagine that covers it sufficiently. :)

I notice it also states "without notice," but I'm guessing the desired protocol would be to leave a comment after such an edit. Yes?

On a side note, it looks like the TOS is still the original by Troy and probably could use updating.

Thanks, Beatriz
We knew it was there somewhere. We must confess, Jason, that we don't usually comment after cropping. It's enough trouble that we have to spend time cropping someone's image. We assume most people whose images need cropping either don't have the software to do it themselves or don't know how. Either way our assumption is that they are thankful that we did it. If we had to crop and comment, we would probably stop doing it and instead let the images end up in Frass - a loss for all.

Thank you Beatriz for finding that. Now I know where to direct disgruntled contributors when I crop. :)

And, J&J, I do agree with you and I feel that when editing a photo such as a crop, I'd rather not worry about commenting. I've done some image rotations without commenting and there's been no problems. Time to start cropping!

Thanks for the input everyone.

Another Idea
This is somewhat similar to the "frames" issue. I'm not 100% sure if it is necessarily a cause for frassing, but it does go towards your comment of "Add heading to restate goal of highest-quality images". Similar to frames making some images look different than the others and adding an odd feel to them, I also think copyrights on the image (especially if they are large or come anywhere close to the insect or even worse touching) detract from the consistent look of the guide and may even hurt it. I know some people have concerns that the copyright under every image is insufficient, but it does change the way certain images blend into the guide. Some are way too prominent in my opinion. Again not that it is cause for frassing on its own, but I think we should have it be part of the evaluative score of an image. I think that if we have many images of any one species and they are of similar image quality and one has an obtrusive copyright, that copyright is grounds for a deduction that may put it on the chopping block. Just my opinion, although I do sometimes take copyrights slightly personal, occasionally I feel the contributor is accusing other BG users (me) of being thieves. So it may just be me.

I also don't like rulers in an image in the guide. If I trust you on the collection date, location, and that the image is owned by you, then I trust you on the size of the specimen, please just type it in the size field or your comment. I don't want the guide to become 50% pictures of people’s office equipment, please crop it out. Again not cause for frassing on its own, just a deduction towards that image’s overall "score".

I’m interested if anyone else feels the same?

I do not feel the same.
My view: You are confusing detailed personal values/preferences/standards with functional guidelines that will best serve the 16,000+ contributors to BugGuide.

You don't feel that if you are removing excess images and all things being equal between two images but one has a funny border (which I think is against BG instructions somewhere) or an obtrusive copyright placed OVER the bug, that the one without is better?

take this conversation somewhere else. This topic is pretty single-minded in purpose, as stated in the very first line of the article.

Another idea
Maybe include a part about not using "frames" around images.

Good work!
I started using the "too small" section. It is frustrating to see how many people keep making that mistake.

Ah, I see:-)
Not a bad idea, though I hate to generate more work for the IT folks here. I am trying now to always leave a brief comment as to why I frass a given image, but for large-scale frassing, this alternative you propose might be quite helpful.

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