I've been a Bugguide contributor since 2008 and a Bugguide contributing editor since 2019.
Some tips and advice for new contributors (updated 9/16/23):
A preliminary statement
At Bugguide, you have absolute power to put your images in any taxon on any taxonomic level in the guide, and so does each editor. So why isn't the site total chaos? Why, in fact, does it work so very well? It's because by and large, you and each editor have only one goal in placing (or moving) an image in the guide, and it's the same for everyone: for the image to be placed as deeply, and only as deeply, as it can be placed with something like certainty at that time. It doesn't work perfectly
(there are undoubtedly images where they ought not to be) and it doesn't always work very quickly, but on the whole, it works very, very
A request concerning comments
It's fine to suggest an ID you think is merely possible or even just a guess, but when doing so, if you put the taxon in the subject, make it clear in the subject
that it's only a possibility or guess. Otherwise, it will appear at a glance to be something like an unequivocal ID, regardless of what you put in the body of the comment. So, if your intent is to suggest as a mere possibility or guess that it's a lady beetle, don't put "lady beetle" as the subject :) A subject like "lady beetle?" or "possible lady beetle" will work much better.
And now for the tips and advice :)
1. Images should be cropped to pretty much "just the bug." This makes it more likely that people will click on the image and try to identify it. Cropping also makes it much easier for others to use the image in making their own IDs if and when it's placed in the actual guide. (Even if the image is low-resolution, a low-resolution image cropped to "just the bug" is much more useful than the equally low-resolution, but uncropped, image showing 10% bug and 90% unhelpful background :)
A note about cropping and resolution
Don't be surprised if, when you crop a pic of a really tiny bug, you suddenly realize, "wow, this pic isn't as good as I thought it was!" This has nothing to do with the fact that it's cropped. All cropping did, once your photo-editing app filled your screen with the cropped area, was make it easier for you to see
how much (or how little) resolution the image always had.
2. Even if you know you're going to post an image for ID, try to take the ID as far as you can on your own before doing so.
3. It's totally up to you whether to post the image in ID Request or directly into the guide. Posting directly into the guide eases the workload of the editors, who are all volunteers. However, if you do post directly into the guide, make sure to place images no deeper than you are sure they belong.
4. Only images that you know to be the same individual should be posted in a series. Images of possible other individuals should be posted separately.
5. When posting an image, treat the title field as you would the subject field of a comment. In other words, if you want to put an ID as the title, but you think it’s a mere possibility or guess, then make it clear in the title
that it’s a mere possibility or guess. (To reuse my example from the above "request concerning comments," if you're wanting confirmation that it's a lady beetle, don't put "lady beetle" as the title :) A title like "lady beetle?" or "possible lady beetle" will work much better.)
5.1 Read the instructions for filling in the date and location fields, and follow them!
6. Be patient when waiting for an ID. The experts and Bugguide editors have limited amounts of time, so it may take a while before someone with the expertise to identify your bug is able to do so.
7. If someone identifies your image, feel free to move it yourself into the the guide if the identifier or an editor has not already done so. (Again though, it should not be moved any deeper than it has been identified with more or less certainty.)
8. Don't be alarmed if someone skips posting a comment and simply moves the image into the guide. You can look at the "breadcrumbs" above the image to see where in the guide it has been placed.
9. Even after the image has been moved into the guide, it is not necessary or even desirable that the image title or remarks be "corrected" or "updated" to reflect the ID. Doing so adds no value to the guide and removes potentially useful information.
10. If your image is frassed, assume good faith on the editor's part. Some editors definitely feel that the guide needs to keep only so many good images of each species. Try not to take it personally, and if you want to move your image back into the guide, you can always do so. (Also, if no explanation was given and you want one, it doesn't hurt to ask.)
My other insect-related profiles/images:
At Moth Photographers Group
Some favorites out of my Bugguide contributions:
Putative state records
Bugguide-specific "taxon firsts" (under construction):
" (including apparent first images of unidentified morphospecies)
"First life-cycle (series with more than one stage of same individual)"
"First larva/nymph image"
"First pupa image"
"First egg image"
"First [male/female] image" (for sexually dimorphic taxa)
"First live image"
All my Bugguide contributions:
All life cyles
(leafhoppers, planthoppers, and treehoppers)
(ants, wasps, and bees)
(lacewings, antlions, and allies)
(aphids, whiteflies, and other plant-parasitic hemipterans)
(grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids)