Good questions. We've all had to talk about this stuff before. Most of what I have to say isn't a "rule" of any sort, just what the majority of us have seemed to be okay with:
So lets say I see 8 painted turtles sitting on a log and I take 1 picture of all 8. When I enter them into the database am I supposed to enter 8 separate identical entries with the same voucher photo? That seems a little silly. And if I do enter 8 separate entries should the quantity in each one say 8 (which is what is in the picture) or should it say 1 because then there would be 8 entries each listing 8 turtles for a total of 64? If I don't care about contests, then is it actually cool to just enter one entry with a quantity of 8?
Definitely. I would just do one entry with a quantity of 8. Whenever I can see all the herps in one shot, I include them in the same entry. If you wanted to make 8 entries, that would be acceptable, but definitely include a quantity of "1" for each one.
Why don't the contests just take into account the quantity instead of the actual number of entries?
I think because then pictures of puddles with 600 tadpoles in them would throw the whole contest out-of-wack. Also, separate entries tend to include more useful information than a single entry with a big quantity.
I know the quantity should match the number of vouchers. So if the black racers I saw yesterday disappeared into their dens too fast to get a pic, I should create an entry but put quantity of 0?
The default is 1. Since it's easy to tabulate numbers for vouchered-records-only, having a quantity of 1 on the unvouchered records won't mess up the vouchered count at all.
Lets say I find three bullfrogs at a pond, take pics of all 3, and enter them into the database. 2 weeks later I go back to the same pond and I find and photo 5 bullfrogs, but I don't know if any of them are repeats of the first 3. Do I enter all 5? Seems like a weird way to rack up records by recounting the same animals on different dates.
This has been discussed and there's no clear consensus. What I and most people do is make the best effort possible to tell which animals have been recorded before, and not re-record those, at least not in the same year. What you can do instead is put a note on the entry "bullfrog was seen again in same locale 2 weeks later). So if I thought there was a pretty good chance that 2 or 3 of the frogs were repeats, I would only enter the ones that I was sure were new.