Identification, Images, & Information
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Upcoming Events

BugGuide is a National Moth Week Partner. How to add your National Moth Week 2021 photos. July 17-25.

Photos of insects and people from the Spring 2021 gathering in Louisiana, April 28-May 2

National Moth Week 2020 photos of insects and people.

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Previous events


I am wondering of late what the policy on redundancy of images is. I am all for showing the anatomical characters that help identify a given arthropod, and that cannot always be achieved with a single photograph. I am also in favor of demonstrating regional and morphological variation in a species. Still, it seems we sometimes have an entire page devoted to images of something pretty familiar, especially in moths and dragonflies.

I am open to polite argument about this, but my main point is that there is so much diversity that has not been documented with images (especially my own favs, bees and wasps:-) that I would like to see more diversity reflected on this site. Thank you.

No restrictions
I certainly encourage people to contribute images for things we don't already have images of. That's the quickest way to enrich the guide. The home page specifically requests just that.

However, I see no reason not to have a broad selection of images for any particular thing.

First, for the common bugs this will make it more likely that the random images selected will more likely be something common. That's more likely to help someone looking for something they've found (which is likely to be common).

Second, I think of this as sort of an online virtual arthropod collection. There's value in multiple images because we can see regional variations and perhaps eventually even establish ranges.

For identification, I like to see as many images as possible. Perhaps I'm wondering about a particular detail that most images don't show. The more I have to choose from the more I'm likely to be able to see it.

Lastly, for those looking for an image to use, the more selection the better. That's really a small priority for the site though. Mostly that's important to me because licensing of my own images helps support my hobby and makes funding this website possible.

All that said, there's no reason not to be somewhat selective. I might review certain areas eventually and clean things up, removing images that have become redundant or don't really add any value. Hopefully over time I will designate editors to do the same thing, perhaps in narrow sections of the guide.

Should also add
I'm also open to suggestions for other ways to organize the site so we can capture as much data as possible and still make it possible to quickly find what we're interested in. Ideas?

Another Idea
Another idea I had is to let the species 'guide' page specify the relevant images to display (they seem to be randomly selected now). That way you could have a concise 'guide' with meaningful images that show the necessary characteristics, and then have a semi-concealed image library depicting all the various images available for that species.

It works that way already
I designed it to work just like that, Mike.

Every image has a "representative" attribute, that indicates whether it will appear on the guide pages. Initially, I made the default that all images would not be representative unless I toggled it. Unfortunately, it quickly became clear I couldn't keep up with doing that so I changed the default. Now I have to do just the opposite, so most images entered by others will show up.

Also, on the guide page, the images that are displayed can be individually selected as an override to a random selection of all "representative" images available. That makes it possible to be very selective, particularly higher up in the taxonomy where there are so many to choose from.

Of course, the problem with both of these are that it requires considerable effort. It's all there though, and probably during the winter months when I've got more time available I'll make a pass through and fix up some areas or tackle them as I come across them.

Good question
As I've become more intersted in bugs, I've started to accumulate a small collection of images. Some I haven't bothered to post because I'm 90% sure it's the same bug I've seen already posted here. I'm reluctant to contribute to clutter, but on the other hand, maybe I've identified it wrong, and there's some distinguishing characteristic that makes it different, or there's a small regional variation worth showing. But there are a lot of images from the southeast, so I'm guessing that we're going to be finding a lot of the same bugs frequently. I'm trying to be conservative in my image posting.

A related question has to do with the image licensing policy...perhaps the only images present for a certain species are all copyrighted with no Creative-Commons-like rights, in which case it would be good to add an image that is usable by others. But there's no good way to tell this without clicking on all the images and following the author links. Perhaps a way to filter on a CC license or an icon would help that.

(Also relating to the licensing is what license applies to the user's text, including the field guides written by Troy & Patrick...but that's probably something for another thread).

A "CC" icon
That's a neat idea about including a creative commons icon for the images, perhaps along with the copyright text below it. I'll put that on my list.

Content Licensing
The licensing applies to all contributed content, not just the images. I tried to be careful to always refer to contributed content and not narrowly define that as images. Of course, people can put in their own licensing and say whatever they want, but for my part I tried to keep it general.

The "Terms of Use" in particular define what contributed content means. I slaved over that particular bit of legalese for days!

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